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The Eye In The Door : Paperback – 25 Aug 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; Reprinted Edition edition (25 Aug. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140168788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140168785
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,117,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Gripping, moving, beautifully constrcted and profoundly intelligent (Independent on Sunday) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'The Eye in the Door' was the richly deserving winner of the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize, the second volume in Pat Barker's brilliant Regeneration Trilogy. Written with immense power, it is the story not just of one young man suffering from the trauma of war, but from a generation, condemned to the unending slaughter of the trenches, and all the charged agony of class and gender that had its own bitter harvest. But for all the pain she portrays, Barker's novel, with its wry humour and exquisite observation, explodes with life.

Other Pat Barker titles available from HarperCollinsAudioBooks: 'Regeneration' and 'The Ghost Road'.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 2 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
I am writing this in response to the only other review of this book so far, which I do not think does the novel justice. All right, some of "The Eye in the Door" is "brutal and dark" - Pat Barker's books usually do have that element - but what I find so impressive about this novelist is how she manages to deal with difficult, and sometimes unpleasant, subjects in a way that is intelligent, compassionate and unsensational. Her books also have a streak of dry humour running through them that keep them becoming all doom and gloom like a Thomas Hardy novel. And yes, Prior's character is 'flawed" - (whose isn't?) - and sometimes difficult to like, but he seems real and human, and it is impossible not to sympathise with him sometimes, particularly given the courage with which he confronts his situations (not to mention the scalding sense of humour and irony.) Maybe "Regeneration" seems a "cleaner" novel, with characters it is easier to admire or like or pity, but I thought this one continued the tradition of amazingly powerful writing and is definitely worth a read, not just as part of the trilogy, but for its own sake.
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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
Reading the trilogy as a gay man I was struck and impressed by Barker's handling of her largely male cast, in particular Billy Prior. She writes convicingly about men and masculinity. In the opening scene she writes the most erotic and unpretentious sex scene between two men that I have ever read (bar the description of a kiss in Baldwin's Giovanni's Room). Incidentally I do feel Billy Prior is an appealing figure in his flawed humanity. More importantly he is a great anti-hero. With his anger, intelligence, working-class background and bisexuality he represents a brilliant anti-establishment challenge to everything the war he fought claimed to defend.
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Format: Paperback
This is the sequel to Regeneration, and is the second book in the trilogy which won Pat Barker the Booker Prize. It is an account of the waste and pity of war; a down to earth tale of Billy Prior, an officer, but not quite a gentleman, who sails insouciantly through life, getting whatever pleasure he can. Pat Barker pulls no punches and as a result there are moments when one might not exactly approve of his conduct. Prior's perspective on events is essential to understand the pressures that bore down upon those invalided out of battle. He has spells when he `blacks out' and his dislocated experiences disorient and alarm him. He works in the Munitions office and spent some time being treated by Dr Rivers of Craiglockhart Hospital near Edinburgh, but is now employed in the Intelligence Corps, though his position is by no means secure.

Prior is working on a case featuring a woman, Beattie Roper who has been imprisoned because she was suspected of trying to poison Lloyd George and there is a very instructive Author's Note at the end which details the real life case of Alice Wheeldon who was convicted of the crime of attempted murder. (The book Friends of Alice Wheeldon, by Sheila Rowbotham contains a useful essay on Rebel Networks in the First World War). Also mentioned in the book is the real-life High Court Trial of Pemberton Billing, which reflects some of the madness propagated by Harold Spencer, who was later incarcerated in an asylum.

The authenticity of this novel sings off the page and the dialogue is a work of marvellous veracity and darkness. The atmosphere of paranoia and suspicion is marvellously created as the citizens of London grapple for their own sanity in a dangerous world. It comes highly recommended by virtue of its authenticity alone.
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