Sunday March 29, 2020

Back to the very beginning

Pat Barker tells Anna Carey how her latest novel – a reimagining of Homer’s epic from the point of view of Trojan women stolen by the Greeks – was inspired by a line from Philip Roth, and why she feels psychoanalysis would ruin her writing

2nd September, 2018
Pat Barker: ‘Leave my neuroses alone. They’re paying the rent!’ Pic: Getty

‘For a novelist,” says Pat Barker, “war strips away the inessentials in a very stark way. It imposes dramatic change on people in a very short time. It puts in front of them decisions that have to be taken. And historically, of course, these questions are posed to men. But women’s lives too are changed and overturned by war. If you believe, as I do, that the whole point of fiction is to extend empathy...

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