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The Eye In The Door Paperback – Apr 1 1995


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Paperback, Apr 1 1995
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; Reprint edition (April 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452272726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452272729
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #712,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The Eye in the Door is the second installation of Pat Barker's acclaimed and haunting historical fiction trilogy about British soldiers traumatized by World War I trench warfare and the methods used by psychiatrist William Rivers to treat them. As with the other two, the book was recognized with awards, winning the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize. Here, Lieutenant Billy Prior is tormented by figuring out which side of several coins does he live -- coward or hero, crazy or sane, homosexual or heterosexual, upper class or lower. He represents the upheaval in Britain during the war and the severe trauma felt by its soldiers. The writing is sparse yet multilayered; Barker uses the lives of a few to capture an entire society during a tumultuous period. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

From the author of Regeneration comes the story of British society's struggles during WWI.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 23 2013
Format: Paperback
As the second novel in Barker's "Regeneration" trilogy, this one continues to explore the depravity, insanity and outright pathos of war as it warped and destroyed the collective soul of the British nation in W.W.I. The story is an interconnected tale of a host of pathetic individuals - among which is an unhappy imprisoned suffragette, a troubled intelligence officer - all who have become the victims of meat-grinder circumstances well beyond their control both on the homefront and out in the trenches. The awful memes of ordinary people being put through the mill of a senseless war, systematically dehumanized by the most brutal acts of state-run terror, makes for a disturbing read. This is a poignant account of how the ravages of war can turn the world upside down by radically changing people's morals and feelings. This part of the trilogy looks at Prior's life as a person officially assigned to keep a close eye on society's dangerous malcontents and flakes. It just so happens that the people he is to watch are connected to his past. Nothing is straight forward in war in the search for traitors. Nothing is spared as to how far the military and the government is prepared to sustain this evil enterprise, even if it destroys minds, turning friends against friends, impoverishes individuals and families, and silences true love. Playing in the background, in a not-too-subtle fashion, is a reminder that one of Oscar Wilde's not so nice plays, Salome, is playing in London and has attracted the attention of the authorities as to its potential to unsettle the nation so close to 'winning' the war. This piece of theatre is there to remind the reader that, ironically, even Herod's evil kingdom back then knew when to draw the line on acts of senseless cruelty.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
If you haven't read Regeneration, you are making a big mistake if you read The Eye in the Door before Regeneration. Regeneration sets the stage for The Eye in the Door and provides much background information that you need to appreciate this book.

Those who liked the first book in the Regeneration trilogy, Regeneration, will absolutely adore The Eye in the Door. The characters from Regeneration return, and you have a chance to find out the consequences of the treatments they received from Dr. William Rivers in Regeneration. Pat Barker builds on the tensions, damage, doubts, and despair of mid-World War I to show how much more desperate matters were for the British by the spring of 1918.

In developing these themes, Pat Barker does a masterful job of explaining how a soldier has to operate both by emotion and by objective distance in order to function. From there, she helps us use the crucible of war to see how that duality is important to everyday functioning for all people.

As the title indicates, the book builds on a central metaphor of everyone being under observation as doubts build about Britain's ability to win the war. Those on the margins are most under pressure and at greatest risk.

I thought that the portrayal of Lieutenant Billy Prior was brilliant. He comes across as the kind of complex, interesting character that can help us learn a lot about Ms. Barker's messages for us. The eye metaphor is nicely developed in the context of Billy's life.

Brava, Ms. Barker!
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Format: Paperback
THE EYE IN THE DOOR (spoilers)
Ms Barker's epigraph, a quote from Stevenson, sets the tone: "It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognize the thorough and primitive duality of man. I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both."
I am hampered in critiquing the trilogy, since I've read only the first two works, REGENERATION and THE EYE IN THE DOOR. The first of these concentrates on the relation between the enlightened, humane Dr Rivers and the war hero/war protester Siegfried Sassoon, who has been labeled a war neurotic ("shell-shocked") in order to avoid confronting his rational case against the war. Both Rivers and Sassoon are historical characters who the author effectively fictionalizes (their dialogues, etc).
The second novel focuses on the relation between Rivers and Billy Prior, a relatively minor character in the first. The book is set on a wider stage than REGENERATION, which was confined to the (real) mental hospital of Craiglockhart in Scotland. Here we are in London, during the crisis produced by the initial success of the Germans' spring offensive in 1918. As happens during defeats, the search is on for scapegoats seen as undermining the war effort, groups like pacifists and ... who are seen as destroying the nation's "moral fiber." Ludicrously, the leading anti-... crusader, lays the blame on the Germans, who are said to have sent homosexual agents over before the war to corrupt English youth.
Billy Prior, on medical leave from the front, works for a counter-intelligence agency, but his loyalties are divided, since his earliest friends are pacifists and "conchies" (conscientious objectors).
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