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Reading groups >

Covered faces and exposed psyches

Michael Wheeler reads an allusive novel, Toby's Room, by Pat Barker

THE year 1914 - an entry in the world's long chronology that, when spoken, sounds like a muffled bell. As we approach the centenary of this historical watershed, we might dust down our old notes on "The origins of the First World War", or catch yet another documentary, or revisit the so-called "war poets", now set texts in literature courses, whose images of unrelieved gloom are contested by some modern historians.

Or we can turn to Pat Barker's recent and highly praised ...

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