By Sheila Llewellyn
A stirring debut novel about the complex relationship between a soldier and his psychiatrist, set in a failing psychiatric hospital between the end of the Second World War and the founding of the NHS.
'An expertly imagined novel about war's long trail of damage, and about healing intentions gone savagely wrong.' Hilary Mantel
'The atmosphere of the late forties is brilliantly evoked . . . a compassionate and compelling account of post traumatic stress in veterans of the Second World War while bringing individual patients and their psychiatrists vividly to life.' Pat Barker
Set in Northfield, an understaffed military psychiatric hospital immediately before the NHS is founded, Walking Wounded is the story of a doctor and his patient: David Reece, a young journalist-to be whose wartime experiences in Burma have come back to haunt him violently; and Daniel Carter, one of the senior psychiatrists, a man who is fighting his own battles as well as those of his patients.
Based closely on extensive research and inspired by the author's own experience treating victims of PTSD, this moving and impressive debut explores violence and how much harm it does to those forced to inflict it in the name of war. It also captures the dilemmas of the medics themselves as they attempt to 'fix' their patients, each of whom raise the question of what has happened to their humanity, what can be done to help them, and what we are willing to sacrifice in the name of healing.
Sheila Llewellyn was born in England and now lives in Northern Ireland. She completed a PHD in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast in 2016. She has won the P J O'Connor RTÉ Radio One Drama Award and the Silver Award for the Best Broadcast Radio Drama in the New York International Radio Drama Festival in 2012. She has also been shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story Prize, the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize, and shortlisted twice for the Costa Short Story Award.
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- Publication date:
25 Jan 2018
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An expertly imagined novel about war's long trail of damage, and about healing intentions gone savagely wrong. Walking Wounded will engage fans of Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, though it deals with more recent history, steeping its reader in the atmosphere of the late forties, early fifties in England - that drab, deprived country, avid for anything new. How did the fighting men and women still their minds and bodies to peacetime's demands - and what did the civilian world offer, in compensation for unimaginable sacrifices on distant battlefronts? Walking Wounded will shock the reader - it is a fierce warning against medical arrogance. — Hilary Mantel
A considerable achievement. The atmosphere of the late forties is brilliantly evoked . . . a compassionate and compelling account of post traumatic stress in veterans of the 2nd world war while bringing individual patients and their psychiatrists vividly to life — Pat Barker
Meticulously researched, emotionally devastating: a work of uncommon brilliance. — Ian Samson
An astute and powerful portrayal of the damage inflicted by war and the suffering often caused by misguided attempt to repair it. An extremely impressive first novel that combines a delicacy of language and a profound strength of insight. — David Park
An astonishing novel: beautifully crafted, with compelling characters and a gripping story. Llewellyn succeeds in weaving the remote - a narrative based on treatment inside a British military psychiatric hospital in the 1940's and a soldiers' memories of war-time Burma - into a work that is close, even intimate. Poetic grace is apparent in her grasp of the masculine inner life. Mischief too in the fictional appearance of the poet Vernon Scannell, whose own war informs elements of the text. Sometimes a debut emerges with an accomplishment borne of a lifetime of reflection. This is such a book. Llewellyn is an elegant, truthful writer. — Cathy Galvin
If you're looking for a novel that is profoundly revelatory and comes with a huge punch of impact about something vitally important, this is it. It's hard to believe it's a debut novel, it's so assured . . . a disturbing read at times, and a heartbreaking one too, but it's also gripping, vivid and revelatory with an underpinning of huge understanding and compassion. Highly recommended. — Bookbag