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The Eye in the Door (Regeneration, #2)
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The Eye in the Door (Regeneration #2)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  5,714 Ratings  ·  339 Reviews
London, 1918. Billy Prior is working for Intelligence in the Ministry of Munitions. But his private encounters with women and men - pacifists, objectors, homosexuals - conflict with his duties as a soldier, and it is not long before his sense of himself fragments and breaks down. Forced to consult the man who helped him before - army psychiatrist William Rivers - Prior ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Plume (first published 1993)
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The Trigger by Tim ButcherAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanA Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayBirdsong by Sebastian Faulks
The Great War
18th out of 388 books — 496 voters
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueRegeneration by Pat BarkerGoodbye to All That by Robert GravesA Farewell to Arms by Ernest HemingwayBirdsong by Sebastian Faulks
World War One Literature
12th out of 175 books — 306 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jul 10, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who read regeneration and are willing to commit
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
To commit or not to commit that is the question?
Is it worth reading all of a trilogy when you've finished the first book (Regeneration) and feel that it works quite satisfactorily as a stand alone novel, thank you very much. Is it worth ploughing on with the other two books to get a sense of the ending, a feeling of completeness, a conclusion to it all?

If we're talking about this trilogy then I say yes. I am a commitmentaphobe but I took the plunge and with The Eye in the Door in one hand and Th
Jul 29, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war-novels
The second book in the trilogy; just as good and it helps a great deal to have read the first. As previously Barker does an excellent job of weaving fact and fiction together.
We have moved on to early 1918 and the war is still in the balance. One of the fictional characters from Regeneration, Billy Prior, is also central to this novel. Dr Rivers is now in London (as is Prior) and we are plunged into a society struggling with the consequences of war and some of the hysteria that goes with it. Bar
"If you say, "I think it's morally wrong for young men to be sent out to slaughter each other," God help you."
Very little has changed since I read, reviewed, and hung on to Regeneration for dear life. I still live at home, am mistaken for a fifteen-year-old more often than not, and pace myself through books at an obscene rate. The only difference is that I can lay claim to a few more labels: English graduate, bisexual, job holder. In the eyes of many, since I achieved this at twenty-five-years
Aug 26, 2008 Laura rated it did not like it
Five stars for brilliance, one for enjoyment (we're working with a flawed rating system). The second installment of the Regeneration trilogy presents one the most complex psychological portraits I’ve ever read, made more complex by the fact I had to read it through one half-closed eye because of the occasional graphic depictions of gay sex. However, there’s more to the book than insight into new territory (which normally I appreciate, but not so much here). The story goes outside Craglockhart Ho ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I looked at my review of her Regeneration and was surprised to find myself having said the characters weren't quite real. I didn't feel that way at all in this one. Either Barker came to know her characters better, or I came to read her characters better. Or both, perhaps?

I found my appreciation of this enhanced by my having recently read To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. That book focused on the war protesters and how the British government imprisoned "conchies" and
Jun 19, 2012 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prize-winners, 2012
I really enjoyed Regeneration back in 2008 and picked up the second in the trilogy a while back. It's quite different in style and approach than the first but equally well written (winning the 1993 Guardian Fiction Prize). The focus has shifted to Billy Prior who makes for an interesting character promoting sympathy, intrigue and slight disgust all at the same time. He's conflicted and not a well man, split in his responsibilities and possibly his personalities as well.

Barker wonderfully constru
Nov 28, 2014 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the 2nd book of the Regeneration trilogy, one re-encounters Prior, whom Barker describes as being "neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring." It struck me that this is the tone of the trilogy so far -- there is nothing that I can really feel -- nothing that really moves me -- because there is nothing to grasp solidly. It's not badly written; it's not that the story isn't worth knowing -- but, but ... I feel as fractured as the soldiers Barker writes about: I can't hold onto anything with ...more
Sep 22, 2013 Uncle rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Eye in the Door is the second novel in Pat Barker’s famous Regeneration trilogy, set during the last year of World War I, during which the conflict itself seems stalled and futile. The strain on British society is now impossible to ignore. Despite public campaigns against dissent, fissures of doubt are opening up all around the book’s unforgettable main character, Billy Prior.

Asthma has now barred Billy Prior, an officer and former inmate of the Craiglockhart War Hospital, from active servi
Jun 06, 2011 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-1
Unlike Regeneration, which can function as a stand-alone novel quite apart from its place as the first in the trilogy, I think both the subsequent books require the knowledge of the characters and the circumstances that comes with Regeneration. Billy Prior, who has somewhat of a secondary role in Regeneration, as opposed to Rivers and Sassoon, takes centre stage this time, and despite being one of the few fictional characters in this trilogy, is arguably the most fascinating.

Prior is a working-c
Dec 30, 2011 Brad rated it it was amazing
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets indicate some additional information for the sake of readability). It is one of my lost reviews.

It's a feeling I can't quite place, a feeling I can't pinpoint, but I feel The Eye in the Door is a more enjoyable book, although less literary, than Regenera
Aug 30, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
In this, the second volume of Barker's Great War trilogy, she continues the stories of Dr. Rivers, Siegfried Sassoon, and Billy Prior, introduced in Regeneration. In the current volume, themes hinted at in the first novel are made explicit, including the homosexuality and bisexuality of some characters, class divisions, and the antagonism of many in the war-stressed British population toward "conchies," pacifists, and other opponents of British war policy. The story of Billy Prior's schitzophren ...more
I'm not even sure if I could be bothered to finish this book.

The main character, Billy Prior, is an Everyman. For some bizarre personal reason of my own I did not expect that this was meant literally. He is an officer of working class origin, shipworker father - domestic service mother, bisexual, in a relationship with a munitions worker, suffers shellshock, was a boy prostitute, picks up brother officers for casual sex, lived on the same street as the woman who tried to assassinate Lloyd-George
May 17, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
Although it feels very different for some reason to me than the preceding book, Regeneration, Eye in the Door is a just as fascinating look at psychological trauma and political conflict during WWI. Because this book revolves primarily around an entirely nonfictional character, Billy Prior, rather than some of the historically present characters like Sassoon, Graves, and others, it definitely reads more like a piece of fiction than Regeneration did. Nonetheless, Prior was in the first book one ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Basicallyrun rated it it was amazing
OK, so I already think Bat Barker is super-amazing, and I've read Regeneration about four times, but I have to admit, I never cared as much for Prior as I think I was supposed to. And then I read TEITD. Yeah. Sad lack of Sassoon and Owen, obviously, but so, so much background on Prior that I now absolutely love him. (He can be a complete jerk, but he's got enough self-perception all mixed up with self-disgust to really make that work.) What I noticed here is that in the first 20 pages, Prior ...more
This is the second book of the Regeneration trilogy.

This is the story of another soldier, Billy Prior, and the neurologist Dr. Rivers.

Some sub-plots come up during the story.

The author describes Beattie Roper's story which is based on the "poison plot" of 1917: "Alice Wheeldon was jailed in 1917 for plotting to poison Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Her descendants, having read research by Dr Nick Hiley, of the University of Kent, are convinced she was framed by MI5."

The other sub-plot is co
Aug 17, 2014 Penny rated it really liked it
An excellent second book in trilogy following on from Regeneration. Really enjoyed development of Roper character and the book explored the complexities of his different personalities. As previously, excellent psychological insight into shell shock, post trauma, etc Really interesting from historical perspective and real events. Views regarding pacifism and sexuality were fascinating. I felt really sorry for Roper and it will be interesting to see what happens in The Ghost Road. Sarah seems to ...more
Feb 25, 2012 Caroline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, prose, audio, library
This has been one of my favorite books since I read it a decade or so ago (the whole 'Regeneration' trilogy, but especially this middle book) and I'm glad to say it holds up really well. It's hard to think of another writer who combines meticulous historical research with psychological insight with deep characterization as well as this.

Also, not for nothing, Billy Prior -- it's almost hilarious to realize how perfectly he epitomizes the kind of fictional character I've gotten to like over the ye
Feb 07, 2012 zespri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-1
The second book in Pat Barker's World War I trilogy highlights the pacifist movement and gives great insight into those involved. I learnt so much from this book, not only from the book itself, but also from a good deal of searching on the net. Pat Barker makes this awful period of history really live, and i constantly was reaching for resources to dig a bit deeper to her text.

This book, like her first, is deeply sad, as we follow the chilling impact of the war on different men who have a common
Tudor Ciocarlie
Mar 31, 2011 Tudor Ciocarlie rated it really liked it
After reading the 2nd volume, I'm thinking that the war wounds were so profound that they must exist as scars even in our generation.
Nov 14, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
As the appalling bloodshed continues unabated on the Western Front the authorities are worried that they are facing the real possibility of mutinous troops and a civilian work force no longer prepared to work for subsistence wages. With no end in sight and the enemy in the ascendent the search for scapegoats begins and so a degree of paranoia and hysteria affects the Home Front, as reports from the Front show Allied troops in full retreat. 'Skivers, shirkers, conches and pacifists' were blamed ...more
The sequel (and second in the trilogy) to Barker’s amazing ‘Regeneration’. I only discovered these books recently, and was blown away by the standard of writing and treatment of the issues in RegenerationThe Eye in the Door follows through on this; I get the impression that Eye is based slightly less on biographical fact, though is none-the-less important for that. The theme of homosexuality is addressed more directly in this book, concentrating on River’s patients in England who are dealing w ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Sharon rated it really liked it
Borrowed this book from Brendan, after reading the first book in the trilogy, "Regeneration". Both books are about the effects of war on society, as well as on the soldiers at the front.

In this book, one of the main characters, Billy Prior, suffers from an actual dual personality - going to a safe place when he is in danger - did it as a child and then again at the front - whenever under stress. But all of the other characters as well have to lead dual lives in some way or other. Really only a
Jun 29, 2011 Efseine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-beloved, 2011
Horribly beautiful - and I mean horribly; this book rips your guts out and arrays them on the table while you watch. It's really devastating, with vividly realistic characters whose emotional plights don't always make them likeable but do always make them sympathetic. I may not remember the plot of this novel forever (I'm notoriously bad at that), but I will remember how it made me feel, and how it changed the way I think about people, about psychology and about the nuances of war.

Also, the pros
Mary Crawford
Aug 30, 2014 Mary Crawford rated it really liked it
The main character in this sequel is Billy Prior, he is now a domestic intelligence officer who is bisexual. The book tells of how pacifists (friends of Billy's) and homosexuals are scape goated in the spring of 1918. The term homosexual conjures up the illegality, repression and fear that men experienced in Britain at that time. The metaphor of the eye in the door explains the paranoia felt at the time when Germany appeared to be winning the war and England was holding on by persecuting ...more
Lucie Novak
Aug 27, 2014 Lucie Novak rated it really liked it
I loved this trilogy so much, that I re-read this for the second time 2 years after.
It is interesting, full of deep and well written psychological studies of the characters. There is a mixture of invented and real historical figures, and it works well. The descriptions of attitudes to sex, hetero and homosexual are brilliant and surprising.
The class distinctions between all those shell shocked soldiers, the deeply troubled characters, a multifaceted, brilliant book. Of course , I am a woman, and
Lucy Charters
Jul 18, 2016 Lucy Charters rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I liked this book, however I am a bit disappointed as after a while I got the impression that Barker was continuing the series simply because she could rather than because it was necessary. While it is still very well written and interesting to find out more about the character of Prior, I felt the gratuitous sex somewhat unnecessary. I would also have appreciated it more if it focused on some of the other characters in Regeneration, rather than simply on Prior, although it is true that the ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit,I haven't read the first bit in this trilogy, and wonder if sometimes when I was a little lost in this book by random character suddenly showing up, it might have helped if I did.
It was an engaging and well written book. Billy Prior, one of the main characters was a bit of a mystery, sometimes do likeable, other times, so clearly not.
Other characters we've around his story mainly, though at times they felt slightly fractured and I wondered if we had moved onto something else!
The second book of Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy is every bit as good as the first one, and probably better. While I'm not sure how I feel about the split personality thing, I loved the psychological drama and the period detail. Some fascinating stuff there. I'll post a proper review once I've finished the trilogy.
Jan 18, 2012 Bobbi rated it really liked it
The second in this extraordinary trilogy about WWI. It occurs primarily in Great Britain during the time they thought Germany might be winning the war. Paranoia abounds about spies and antiwar demonstrators and homosexuals are targeted in particular. If you read this trilogy, it's best to read one right after the other as they depend heavily upon each other.
Ma'lis Wendt
Jul 07, 2009 Ma'lis Wendt rated it it was amazing
I liked this second book of Pat Barker's triology even better than Regeneration. Her insight into the England of WWI is fascinating.
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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
More about Pat Barker...

Other Books in the Series

Regeneration (3 books)
  • Regeneration (Regeneration, #1)
  • The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3)

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“Half the world's work's done by hopeless neurotics.” 5 likes
“(In response to 'In the end moral and political truths have to proved on the body.[ ie put one's body on the line to prove a truth]

That's a very dangerous idea. It comes quite close to saying that the willingness to suffer proves the rightness of belief. But is doesn't. The most it can ever prove is the believer's sincerity. And not always that. some people just like suffering.”
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