‘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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