Famous Quotes & Sayings

Pat Barker Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 67 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Pat Barker.

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Pat Barker Quotes 1298406

Culturally, the First World War is the war that stands in for other wars. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2022037

We are Craiglockhart's success stories. Look at us. We don't remember, we don't feel, we don't think - at least beyond the confines of what's needed to do the job. By any proper civilized standard (but what does that mean now?) we are objects of horror. But our nerves are completely steady. And we are still alive. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1781494

His happiness was almost painful, like circulation returning to a dead leg. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1339586

The white bowl of the street began to fill with darkness, from the pavement upwards, like somebody pouring tea into a cup. — Pat Barker

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You should go tho the past, looking not for messages or warnings, but simply to be humbled by the weight of human experience that has preceded the brief flicker of your own few days. — Pat Barker

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The past is a palimpsest. Early memories are always obscured by accumulations of later knowledge. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1850152

The way I see it, when you put the uniform on, in effect you sign a contract. And you don't back out of a contract merely because you've changed your mind. You can still speak up for your principles, you can still argue against the ones you're being made to fight for, but in the end you do the job. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2044840

A flicker of fear, but it faded. The man looked round the room again, as if searching for something, but for something inside himself, Colin thought. For something he ought to feel, and couldn't. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 310388

Elinor retreated to the terrace where the night air on her skin felt like a hot bath. She was hurt, it had been such an onslaught. All the things she'd achieved in the past four years, the independent life she'd built for herself, seemed to count for nothing here. The only thing that mattered to her mother was finding a husband. As for painting, well, nice little hobby, very suitable, but you won't have much time for that when the children arrive. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2021276

Murder is only killing in the wrong place. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2156233

I had him in my cab once.

Who? Neville asked

Rupert Brooke. He was good, him. "There's some corner of a foreign field/ That is forever England".

That would be the bit with my nose under it; just fucking drive, will you? — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1547999

A gang of teenage boys had gathered on the steps of the Odeon. Boys Collin knew, from the fourth and fifth year, boys with braying laughs and sudden, falsetto giggles, boys who stood on street corners and watched girls walk past, who punched each other with painful tenderness, who cultivated small moustaches that broke down, when shaved, into crusts of acne thicker than the moustaches had ever been, who lit cigarettes behind cupped hands, narrowing their eyes in pretended indifference to the smoke. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2044415

But I shot the dog myself. I took him into the barn holding on to his collar. He knew something bad was going to happen, and he rolled over on to his back and showed me his puppy-pink tummy and widdled a bit, quite certain these devices for deflecting aggression would work. I tickled him behind his ear and said, 'Sorry, old son. I'm human-we're not like that. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 874133

That balance between involvement and detachment is what novelists do. It's the ideal relationship between a novelist and a character, I think, total involvement and identity and empathy, stopping short of being autobiographical - in my case, anyway - but also quite detached. — Pat Barker

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I didn't belong to the sort of family where the children's classics were laid on. I went to the public library and read everything I could get my hands on. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 75660

Ghosts everywhere. Even the living were only ghosts in the making. You learned to ration your commitment to them. This moment in this tent already had the quality of remembered experience. Or perhaps he was simply getting old. But then, after all, in trench time he was old. A generation lasted six months, less than that on the Somme, barely twelve weeks. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1177039

My grandmother's first husband was a spiritualist medium. What fascinates me about that is the balance between conviction and sincerity and trickery, which is also something that novelists are very familiar with. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1348252

The sky darkened, the air grew colder, but he didn't mind. It didn't occur to him to move. This was the right place. This was where he had wanted to be. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1234691

Colin was beginning to be afraid( ... )of the future, of the possibility, suddenly glimpsed, that his life might end like this. Like most young people, he'd always assumed, without ever really thinking about it, that regret, waste, failure lay in wait for others, but not for him. Now( ... )he realized, for the first time, that he was not exempt, that this, unless he took steps to avoid it, could happen to him. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 786998

Rachel, who before her marriage had been a promising pianist, and now sat with the baby on her knee, picking out nursery tunes with one finger. Nev said it wouldn't be like that, and she believed him - or at least she believed he meant it - but it would, because marriage changed everything. It had its own logic, its own laws, and they were independent of the desires and intentions of those who entered into it. She felt a moment's pleasure in the cynicism of this perception, though God knows it was depressing enough. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 502834

(In response to 'In the end moral and political truths have to proved on the body.[ ie put one's body on the line to prove a truth]
That's a very dangerous idea. It comes quite close to saying that the willingness to suffer proves the rightness of belief. But is doesn't. The most it can ever prove is the believer's sincerity. And not always that. some people just like suffering. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2091236

I believe that this war, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1163513

Sad but true that nothing puts a woman in her place more effectively than a chivalrous gesture performed in a certain manner. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 207747

In some ways the experience of these young men paralleled the experience of the very old. They looked back on intense memories and felt lonely because there was nobody left alive who'd been there. — Pat Barker

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He's a bar-room socialist, if that's what you mean. Beer and revolution go in, piss come out — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 305632

Two miles up the road to hell. No point blaming those women because they couldn't imagine it. He could hardly realize it himself, sitting there by the window, stirring his coffee, bubbling with excitement about his room, the work he intended to do there, and the new idea that was beginning to take root in his mind. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 331122

I don't think it's possible to c-call yourself a C-Christian and ... and j-just leave out the awkward bits.' -Wilfred Owen — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 354752

First-person narrators can't die, so as long as we keep telling the story of our own lives we're safe. Ha bloody fucking Ha. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 414353

Fathers remain opaque to their sons, he thought, largely because the sons find it so hard to believe that there's anything in the father worth seeing. Until he's dead, and it's too late. Mercifully, doctors are also opaque to their patients. — Pat Barker

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Fiction should be about moral dilemmas that are so bloody difficult that the author doesn't know the answer. — Pat Barker

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I wanted to be a novelist from a very early age - 11 or 12 - but I don't think I ever thought I would write historical fiction. I never thought I might write academic history because I simply wasn't good enough! — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 827729

The military authorities say uniforms must be preserved at all costs, but that means manhandling patients who are in agony. Cut them off, says Sister Byrd, and she's the voice of authority here, in the Salle d'Attente, not some gold-braid-encrusted crustacean miles away from blood and pain, so cut they do, snip, snip, snip, snip, as close to the skin as they dare. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 836677

Somehow if she'd know the worst parts, she couldn't have gone on being a haven for him ... Men said they didn't tell their women about France because they didn't want to worry them. but it was more than that. He needed her ignorance to hide in. Yet, at the same time, he wanted to know and be known as deeply as possible. And the two desires were irreconcilable. — Pat Barker

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Another person's life, observed from the outside, always has a shape and definition that one's own life lacks. — Pat Barker

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In his experience, premonitions of disaster were almost invariably proved false, and the road to Calvary entered on with the very lightest of hearts. MR — Pat Barker

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Fear, tenderness - these emotions were so despised that they could be admitted into consciousness only at the cost of redefining what it meant to be a man. — Pat Barker

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On the face of it he seemed to be congratulating himself on dealing with patients more humanely than Yealland, but then why the mood of self-accusation? In the dream he stood in Yealland's place. The dream seemed to be saying, in dream language, don't flatter yourself. There is no distinction. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 990453

Being a writer is a poverty trap. I mean, it's a terrible profession. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1024129

But then, that's the question. Should you even pause to consider your own reactions? These men suffer so much more than he does, more than he can imagine. In the face of their suffering, isn't it self-indulgent to think about his own feelings? He has nobody to talk to about such things and blunders his way through as best he can. If you feel nothing -this is what he comes back to time and time again -you might just as well be a machine, and machines aren't very good at caring for people. There's something machine-like about a lot of the professional nurses here. Even Sister Byrd, whom he admires, he looks at her sometimes and sees an automaton. Well, lucky for her, perhaps. It's probably more efficient to be like that. Certainly less painful. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1076487

And I realize there's another group of words that still mean something. Little words that trip through sentences unregarded: us, them, we, they, here, there. These are the words of power, and long after we're gone, they'll lie about in the language, like the unexploded grenades in these fields, and anyone of them'll take your hand off. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1096239

Everything stinks: creosote, bleach, disinfectant, soil, blood, gangrene.
The military authorities say uniforms must be preserved at all costs, but that means manhandling patients who are in agony. Cut them off, says Sister Byrd, and she's the voice of authority here, in the Salle d'Attente, not some gold-braid-encrusted crustacean miles away from blood and pain, so cut they do, snip, snip, snip, snip, as close to the skin as they dare.
On either side of Paul as he cuts are two long rows of feet: yellow, strong, calloused, scarred where blisters have formed and burst repeatedly. Since August they've done a lot of marching, these feet, and all their marching has brought them to this one place. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1174756

The road was clogged with limbers and motor vehicles and men marching towards the front. They look like a machine: all the boots moving as one, shoulders bristling with rifles, arms swinging, everything pointing forwards. And on the other side of the road, men stumbling back, trying to keep time, half dead from exhaustion and with this incredible stench hanging over them. You get whiffs of it when you cut the clothes off wounded men, but out there, in the mass, it's as solid as a wall. And they all look so gray, faces twitching, young men who've been turned into old men. It's a great contrast, stark and terrible, because they're the same men, really. It's an irrigation system, full buckets going one way, empty buckets the other. Only it's not water the buckets carry. — Pat Barker

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The result was I went nowhere. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1318141

One began by finding mental illness mystifying, and ended by being still more mystified by health. — Pat Barker

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A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance. — Pat Barker

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When I'm writing the first draft, I'm writing in a very slovenly way: anything to get the outline of the story on paper. — Pat Barker

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Half the world's work is done by hopeless neurotics. — Pat Barker

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Half the world's work's done by hopeless neurotics. — Pat Barker

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It's strange, isn't it? You go on and on, or I do rather, seeing God knows what horrors and learning not to care or anyway not to care more than you need to do the job, and then something happens that gets right under your skin. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1500545

Obvious choices for the east window: the two bloody bargains on which civilization claimed to be based. The bargain, Rivers though, looking at Abraham and Isaac. The one on which all patriarchal societies were founded. If you, who are young and strong, will obey me, who am old and weak, even to the extent of being prepared to sacrifice your life, then in the course of time you will peacefully inherit, and be able to exact the same obedience from your sons. Only we're breaking the bargain, Rivers thought. All over northern France, at this very moment, in trenches and dugouts and flooded shell-holes, the inheritors were dying, not one by one, while old men, and women of all ages, gathered together and sang hymns. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1556930

From then on the improvement was dramatic, though still the conversations with the dead friend continued, until one morning he awoke crying, and realized he was crying, not only for his own loss but also for his friend's, for the unloved years. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1612476

What I hate in fiction is when the author knows better than the characters what they should do. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1618548

I wasn't thinking of a sequel when I finished 'Life Class.' What changed my mind was the perception that the characters had a lot of life left in them, a lot of unresolved conflicts, and also I became interested in the Tonks pastel portraits of facially disfigured soldiers and in the whole area of facial reconstruction. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1620150

This reinforced Rivers's view that it was prolonged strain, immobility and helplessness that did the damage, and not the sudden shocks or bizarre horrors that the patients themselves were inclined to point to as the explanation for their condition. That would help to account for the greater prevalence of anxiety neuroses and hysterical disorders in women in peacetime, since their relatively more confined lives gave them fewer opportunities of reacting to stress in active and constructive ways. Any explanation of war neurosis must account for the fact that this apparently intensely masculine life of war and danger and hardship produced in men the same disorders that women suffered from in peace. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1739295

When writing about historical characters I try to be as accurate as possible, and in particular not to misrepresent the view they held. With a real historical figure you have to be fair, and this is not an obligation you have in dealing with your own creations, so it is quite different. — Pat Barker

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Looking straight at the world is part of your duty as a writer. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1813497

And as soon as you accepted that the man's breakdown was a consequence of his war experience rather than his own innate weakness, then inevitably the war became the issue. And the therapy was a test, not only of the genuineness of the individual's symptoms, but also of the validity of the demands the war was making on him. Rivers had survived partly by suppressing his awareness of this. But then along came Sassoon and made the justifiability of the war a matter for constant, open debate, and that suppression was no longer possible. At times it seemed to Rivers that all his other patients were the anvil and that Sassoon was the hammer. Inevitably there were times when he resented this. As a civilian, Rivers's life had consisted of asking questions, and devising methods by which truthful answers could be obtained, but there are limits to how many fundamental questions you want to ask in a working day that starts before eight am and doesn't end till midnight. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1849405

It was ... the Great White God de-throned, I suppose. Because we did, we quite unselfconsciously assumed we were the measure of all things. That was how we approached them. And suddenly I saw that we weren't the measure of all things, but that there was no measure. — Pat Barker

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The silence deepened, like a fall of snow, accumulating second by second, flake by flake, each flake by itself inconsiderable, until everything is transformed. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1878819

Sometimes, in the trenches, you get the sense of something, ancient. One trench we held, it had skulls in the side, embedded, like mushrooms. It was actually easier to believe they were men from Marlborough's army, than to think they'd been alive a year ago. It was as if all the other wars had distilled themselves into this war, and that made it something you almost can't challenge. It's like a very deep voice, saying; 'Run along, little man, be glad you've survived — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 1956472

I do miss you so much, but it gets harder and harder to keep you in my mind. You re like a ghost almost, fading in the light of dawn. Sometimes I close my eyes and try to summon up your face and I cant see you anymore. Then at other times I hear your voice so clearly I turn round expecting to see you standing there, and every time it happens there's the same pang of loss. Cant you send me a sketch of where you are? It would help me a lot if I could picture you somewhere definite, not just have letters dropping in from outer space. Paul — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2073379

Lying between the sheets, she felt different; her body had turned into bread dough, dough that's been kneaded and pounded till it's grey, lumpen, no yeast in it, no lightness, no prospect of rising. Her arms lay stiff by her sides. When, finally, she drifted off to sleep, she dreamt she was on her knees in a corner of the room, trying to vomit without attracting the attention of the person who was asleep on the bed. Her eyes wide open in the darkness, she tried to cast off the dream, but it stayed with her till morning. — Pat Barker

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She lived a life almost obsessively devoted to triviality. She'd turned into a pond skater, not because she didn't know what lay beneath the surface, but precisely because she did. — Pat Barker

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'Undertones of War' by Edmund Blunden seems to get less attention than the memoirs of Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, but it is a great book. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2182943

Didn't you find it all ... rather unsatisfying?"
"Yes, but I couldn't seem to see a way out. It was like being three different people, and they all wanted to go different ways."
A slight smile. "The result was I went nowhere. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2228624

And the Great Adventure - the real life equivalent of all the adventure stories they'd devoured as boys - consisted of crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed. The war that had promised so much in the way of 'manly' activity had actually delivered 'feminine' passivity, and on a scale that their mothers and sisters had hardly known. No wonder they broke down. — Pat Barker

Pat Barker Quotes 2241280

You know you're walking around with a mask on, and you desperately want to take it off and you can't because everybody else thinks it's your face. — Pat Barker