March 16, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Border Crossing

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Pat Barker
genre
Fiction
We gave it an A

Years after a sensational court case — say, a 10-year-old boy convicted of murdering the elderly neighbor woman — what happens to the participants? Border Crossing answers that question by reuniting child psychologist Tom Seymour with youthful murderer Danny Miller; the doctor’s damning testimony institutionalized the boy for 13 years. When a man Tom rescues from drowning turns out to be Danny, now free and living under a new name, Barker poses a metaphysical question: Do past actions define character, or can someone be separated from previous behavior? If there’s any justice — another theme in the novel — this rich psychological fiction by the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy should outsell cheap courtroom thrillers everywhere.

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