Pat Barker

novel by Pat Barker

Patricia Mary W. Barker, CBE, FRSL (née Drake; born 8 May 1943) is an English writer and novelist.

Pat Barker in 2012


  • But sir, certainly, there isn't any proof as to my guilt...
    • Danny
  • The man needs to learn how to controll his anger, he is crossing a border here, and he has no right
    • Inspector rogers
  • The forensic evidence for Danny's guilt was overwhelming, but he was a good liar.
  • Danny was a bottomless pit. He wanted other people to fill him, only in the process the other people ended up drained.
  • ...the horror of the images impossible to connect with the child he'd just left.
  • I thought he was one of the most dangerous boys we've ever had through the school.
    • Mrs. Greene
  • I don't know why I killed her, I didn't know then and I don't know now. And I don't know how to live with it.
    • Danny to Tom
  • But [Tom] was used to switching off, to living his life in separate compartments.
  • [Tom] denies [Lauren] his attention in memory, as he did in life.
  • [Tom had] learnt to value detachment: the clinician's splinter of ice in the heart.
  • When we got married, you didn't even want kids. It was... you and me.
    • Tom
  • [Tom] was fed up to the back teeth with being a walking, talking sperm bank.
  • It was extraordinarily distracting: this feeling of a pivotal moment in his own life being played out in front of an uninvited audience.
  • [Danny] was very, very good at getting people to step across that invisible border. Lambs to the slaughter.
  • You wring a chicken's neck, you don't expect to find it running round the yard next morning, do you?
    • Danny
  • Do you think it's different, killing a rabbit and killing a person?
  • They'd awoken that morning to a curious stillness. Clouds sagged over the river, and there was mist like sweat over the mudflats.
  • [Tom] was less than halfway across the causeway when the mist thickened.
  • The fired burnt furiously, piled high with logs. Danny had dragged the log basket onto the hearth rug and was kneeling beside it, a log in each hand, watching the fire burn.
  • A rasp and flare as [Danny] struck the match. A doubled reflection of the flame appeared in his eyes, whose pupils had not contracted, as one would have expected, but grown large, as if starved for light.
  • A second later, the water enclosed him in a coffin of ice.
  • The boy [Danny] looked like a baby: purple faced, wet hair, that drowned look of a newborn, cast up on to its mother's suddenly creased and spongy belly.
  • ...he'd seen the boy's [Danny's] body hang suspended... an umbilical cord of silver bubbles linking his slack mouth to the air.
  • [Lauren's] eyes were glazed, inward-looking. Like labour, Tom thought, the irony as sour as the mud on his tongue.
  • Do you think confession's the only route to redemption?
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