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Double Vision: A Novel

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  657 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
Double Vision from Pat Barker, a gripping novel about the effects of violence on the journalists and artists who have dedicated themselves to representing it

In the aftermath of September 11, reeling from the effects of reporting from New York City, two British journalists, a writer, Stephen Sharkey, and a photographer, Ben Frobisher, part ways. Stephen, facing the almost s
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2003)
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Laura Leaney
I read this book for a class I'm taking, with the requirement to pay particular attention to point of view. And the point of view is interesting. Barker chooses third-person close for two primary characters, switching between them at well chosen places in the narration, and veers off into what seems like omniscience at various points. She does this so smoothly that I had to pause and contemplate how it happened.

The story is good, a post 9-11 trauma set in the English countryside. Unfortunately,
Theryn Fleming
Jul 05, 2010 Theryn Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are two main characters in Double Vision: a burned-out war journalist who is grappling with the death of his photographer friend, and the photographer's wife, a sculptor, who is not only dealing with the death of her husband, but also recovering from a bad car accident. Their lives intersect when the journalist returns home to work on a book about his experiences. A romantic relationship does develop, but not between these two characters. It's an absorbing story on the surface level. But i ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Within the first few pages of this book, I knew that I wouldn't be able to recommend 'Double Vision' to any of my male friends, this is a novel geared particularly at a female readership, exploring the complexities of relationships within a small-knit community.

At the heart of it all are two key characters: Stephen and Kate, who are both profoundly affected by the death of Ben, their respective colleague and husband who was killed in Afghanistan. My expectation was that this consequently would
May 26, 2014 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Pat Barker's trilogy about WWI soldiers. This book is set in post-9/11 England, shortly after the mad cow scare required the destruction of livestock across the country. I really enjoy her writing style and was starting to feel very involved in the characters when the book ended quite abruptly! Part of the challenge was that I was listening to an MP3 version in my car and had no idea how many "pages" were left, so I was completely taken aback to find that it was over. I'd love to know wh ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Toto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pat Barker has made a name for herself with her books on art and war -- sometimes together as a theme as it is here, sometimes standalone as in Life Class. Here the connection is oblique. The widow of a war journalist makes a huge Christ statue in her rural studio. During the making of it, she meets some side characters each of whom has a violent past. Their lives entangle and disentangle, and they move on.

Barker's books are always readable and suspenseful. She is particularly good at describin
Jan 23, 2016 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author is a master with character development and weaving an interesting story. The book was easy to read and as I made my way through the pages I felt so close to the characters. Stephen Starkey is war correspondent has retired because of shell shock (post traumatic stress disorder). His sleep is disrupted by nightmares of what he has seen and experienced. He has divorced his wife and his best friend, Ben Frobisher, a writer and photographer, was killed by a sniper. As he tries to reconstr ...more
Deepti Patel
My first of Pat Barker, Double Vision is a novel that holds Within its pages - war, crime, murder, rape, love, hate, sex, artistry, creativity, duplicity, anger, tenderness, inspiration , and lot more.

The narration style is good. the author switches narrators with such ease that you'd not even notice the change . but somehow the book left me unsatisfied, sort of wanting for more. There was an absence of resolution for the characters issues, and the characters themselves. Stephan will always reme
Carolyn Mck
After reading Barker's most recent novel, Noonday, I decided to re-read this, which I first read about 6 years ago. I really didn't remember much about it and after having read it again I think that, while very readable, with interesting characters and Barker's usual controlled and thoughtful style, it isn't a particularly memorable book.

As in a number of her novels, Barker is interested in how art (or writing) interprets suffering. Ben Frobisher was a war photographer who was killed in Afghani
Not a genre I would usually read but interesting nonetheless.
What I liked about this book was the relationship dynamics and the ability to hold the readers attention with the tension. The secrets and plot of the different characters was engaging and entertaining.
However, sometimes I felt there was a lack of description when it was needed. It felt rushed and only after continuing to read did I understand what was going on. Also, some of the questions raised in the book were not completely answer
Paul Patterson
Double Vision is a superbly crafted novel concentrating on the horrendous cost of war on the lives and psyches of those associated with it. The story commences with the random accident of Kate Frobisher, a war widow, who although atheist herself is engaged in a sculpture of the crucified Christ for the local vicarage. Her freak accident on an icy road parallels the random death of her war photographer husband who suddenly died when hit in Afghanistan's crossfire. His friend Steven Sharkey the no ...more
Ashley Delgado
In the book Double Vision by Pat Barker, a man named Ben, the husband of Kate who is a sculptor, was a photographer. He would always cover topics such as war and conflict all over the world. One day his work came to an end. I can't imagine how that would feel if that happened to a loved one. They weren't in the war, they were just taking pictures, and never came home. On top of trying to recover from the loss of a loved one, I became disabled from an accident? I'm not really sure how I would've ...more
Nov 25, 2010 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dora Okeyo
Something about this book got me reading it hoping for some kind of ending- if not a perfect one but some kind of resolution at least. I didn't quite get what I wanted.

But: It's about a lot of people-there's Stephen the War Correspondent who's just divorced his wife-and keep seeing images of people and places that he took during various wars-and he is set to write a book about his experience as a photographer-and still mourns his best friend-Ben.
Then there's Justine the 19 year old Stephen loves
Emily Harjo
Nov 19, 2010 Emily Harjo rated it it was ok
Double Vision by Pat Barker, deals with the struggles of the characters as they wrestle with their personal issues. The image that haunts Stephan most is of a raped and murdered woman. One night while Stephan and Ben were making their way back to their hotel, they stumble on a sight that Stephan will continue to carry with him back home to England. Throughout the novel Kate is trying to come to terms with, her husband, Ben’s death. Unknowingly Kate hangs the photo that ultimately took Ben’s life ...more
Dec 08, 2008 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book by Pat Barker. She conveys the psychological details of her characters so clearly. It's a joy to pick up any of her books.

This one (like so many of the others) explores some heavy themes. She delves into the responsibility of journalists and artists in conveying acts of violence. She also examines how violence and loss can transform lives and what the moral response should be.

I absolutely love her style of writing and her approach in dealing with large themes like war, d
Jun 21, 2008 Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: furies
One of Barker's best novels, I think, especially in the strength of its characterization and the purity of its prose, which is lucid and poetic and devoid of artifice. Look at this:

He drank [coffee] sitting by the window, the hot fluid delineating his oesophagus, another part of his living body reclaimed from the dark.... All the time he was debriefing himself, sorting out the dream. He knew if he didn't take time to do this, it could stain and corrupt the whole day.

Also notable: the thoughtfuln
Apr 21, 2015 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not often that I agree with anything in the Telegraph, but the line on the cover "unputdownable and thought-provoking" describes my feelings on this book fairly precisely. A much more modern setting than many of her books, but issues of grief and guilt are again at the core of this book. Her writing is eloquent but never over wordy and she makes you savour many of her sentences. Highly recommended.
Alistair Candlin
The second Pat Barker novel I've read, and I will definitely read all her stuff. She's not flashy: style never gets in the way of the story. As with Regeneration, she explores the big themes here, but in a small-scale context — Double Vision is set in a village somewhere near Newcastle, and the border of Scotland. I don't think she names the place, though.
Mar 01, 2012 zespri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A perfectly good story, but did not engage me nearly as much as the Regeneration trilogy which I loved did.

A similar theme is introduced, namely, the effects of war on those involved - whether directly or indirectly. This time, one of the main characters is a foreign war correspondent who is recovering from a divorce and the loss of a photographer friend from sniper fire. He has also become disillusioned with his work and has decided to take a complete step back from it and to write a book.

He mo
Gail M
Dec 27, 2015 Gail M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing Pat Barker. I "liked it" as in it was engaging and suspenseful, however, nothing ended up being resolved and there were so many loose ends it was mostly frustrating. Three stars for excellent writing and portions dealing with the impact of visual images/war/violence.
Nov 29, 2015 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book - poignant story about the after effects of war on observers and families - but that simplifies it too much. There are lots of things that make this story readable - including a mystery about one of the characters that could be significant or not - I read this in one day.
The Wee Hen
Mar 29, 2012 The Wee Hen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have really become pedantic about what I like to read. This was just a little too "novel-y" for me. It was described as a psychological thriller and it just only barely fulfilled its promise. Far too much mithering about with high-mindedness and deep, introspective thoughts about war and violence and representation and not enough crime drama. We never know who committed the central crime in the book and we don't seem to give a damn. One of the characters seems very dodgy and suspicious but it ...more
Feb 10, 2008 sisterimapoet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sisterimapoet by: Mew
Shelves: fiction-2008
For me the main weakness of this book was the plot. I enjoyed about three quarters of the book, expecting some neat resolutions and things falling into place in the last part - but that never happened.

I feel that Barker starting writing without knowing where she was heading. There were interesting parts that would have made good books in themselves (the sculpter/assistant storyline and the returning war correspondent/Goya thread) but they got such a glancing touch as to fall by the wayside.

Sep 14, 2010 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An ok read here from Pat Barker who I have always admired. Maybe its because her major works are set in fairly traumatic backdrops that they have had more of an impact on me (Regeneration Trilogy as an example, however Union Street is one of my faves and isn't set in a war-torn backdrop unless you count 1970's - 80's Thatcher's Britain as one!) but this story seemed a little weak at times.

I quite enjoyed it and it was a fairly eerie thriller but I felt it lacked the final denouement which I was
Tracy Alexander
Wanted the book to be about the sculptor, not the journalist and the girl.
Aug 07, 2015 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairly good book; I did enjoy it. It is a different take on the damage war does to the human psyche.
Jun 03, 2010 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not like the previous books of hers which I've read - the Regeneration Trilogy was superb. Don't feel this is as well written. Some of the prose is cliched and occasionally grates. Strange story revolving around a foreign correspondent returning to Britain, a sculptor whose husband has been recently killed in a war zone, and young woman about to go to university. All affected in various ways by a shady character whom they each know in different ways. I'm no fan of pat endings to a novel, but thi ...more
Grace Karisa
Nice for an easy read,,, book ends abruptly though
Evelyn Leong
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel -- set in the events of 9/11, the novel dealt with the aftermath of covering war and how the individual characters swirled around one another and yet were truly alone in their anxieties and fears. Barker has a lovely way of letting her readers get to know the characters by having other characters react and describe them. This is a novel about very lonely people, lonely by choice and by circumstance. Each has glimpses of moving past their grief and, in a way, their ...more
Jul 20, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of her few books that I have read which doesn't deal with the war. Another must read.
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Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics.

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration ; The Eye in the Door , winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road , winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. Pat Barker is married and lives in
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