Pat Barker 1943–
Barker has gained prominence for her two novels of industrial England, Union Street (1982) and Blow Your House Down (1984). The first portrays the lives of seven working-class women in England's economically depressed northeast, an area not unlike that in which Barker herself was raised. Abandoning the traditional structure of the novel, Barker used a technique which she referred to as the "compound-eye approach" because each of the women narrates her own story yet all the stories are interconnected. Her second novel also focuses on a working-class community in which a group of prostitutes are victimized by a series of Jack-the-Ripper-type murders. Katha Pollitt says of both books: "Mrs. Barker is able to see her characters from within, as they see themselves, and thereby reveals [their] full individuality and humanity."