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

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  4,180 ratings  ·  260 reviews
The second installment in the Regeneration Trilogy

It is the spring of 1918, and Britain is faced with the possibility of defeat by Germany. A beleaguered government and a vengeful public target two groups as scapegoats: pacifists and homosexuals. Many are jailed, others lead dangerous double lives, the "the eye in the door" becomes a symbol of the paranoia that threatens
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Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Plume (first published 1993)
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All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria RemarqueThe Trigger by Tim ButcherThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanBirdsong by Sebastian FaulksRegeneration by Pat Barker
The Great War
20th out of 260 books — 273 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
13th out of 140 books — 258 voters


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Community Reviews

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sckenda
Oct 14, 2013 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers interested in PTSD, human rights, and World War I
Recommended to sckenda by: Booker Award for Third Novel in Trilogy
One began by finding mental illness mystifying, and ended by being still more mystified by health.”(147)

Can an entire society develop PTSD? According to Pat Barker, Great Britain in April 1918 needs “regeneration.” War fatigue has set in, and the general public reads the casualty lists, shrugs, and turns to articles about celebrity trials and gossip. But four years of war have unleashed cruel and primitive forces that were better left suppressed, and anybody who is different is assumed to be so
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Shovelmonkey1
Jul 10, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Paul
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
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Laura
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
Jan-Maat
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
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Andy
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
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Uncle
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
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Basicallyrun
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 get ...more
Jen
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 o ...more
Laura
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
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Michael
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
Brad
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
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Caroline
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
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Penny
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 r ...more
Caroline
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
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zespri
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
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Julie
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
Lucie Novak
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
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Tudor Ciocarlie
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.
Mary Crawford
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 minorit ...more
trishtrash
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
Efseine
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
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Sharon
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
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Michael
I think this novel stands quite well alone in addition to serving as an important second part in the series of three starting with Booker Prize winner "Regeneration". I read it out of sequence (as the last one), and that doesn't seem to matter for comprehension. Each focuses on a different set of characters in the circle of patients of psychiatrist William Rivers, a real man who treated soldiers damaged by their combat experiences in World War 1. The other volumes focus on the recovery of Siegfr ...more
Louise
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!
Over
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Siobhan Logan
This book is shockingly well-written. Think Dante's Inferno with an undertow of Stevenson's Jekyll & Hyde, bundled into a respectably precise historical novel. The second in Pat Barker's WW1 Regeneration trilogy, it quickly outstrips the first novel in its revelations about a war we think we know and in its power to move and unnerve us.

The first book was fascinating in its insights into the world of Craiglockhart's military mental hospital and the pioneering treatment of the true-life Dr. R
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Tony
THE EYE IN THE DOOR. (1993). Pat Barker. ****.
Although this was written as a stand-alone novel, it is obviously the second part of the author’s Regeneration series of novels. There are lots of references to the first novel, which the author tries to fill us in on, but I recommend that this be read after the first novel. At the end of the first novel, Siegfried Sassoon was discharged from the mental facility and reassigned to the front in France. We also got to meet, briefly, a new character, Bil
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Iain
The second of Pat Barkers trilogy moves from Craiglockhart hospital to war ravaged London.
Dr William Rivers is now treating fighter pilots whilst his former patient Billy Prior is working at the Ministry of Munitions.
Prior is asked to review the case of a conscientious objector a women he knows from his past in the working class streets of Manchester jailed for plotting to kill the prime minister David Lloyd George. Prior has his suspicions about the case believing the woman to have been set up
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Michael Kerr
This second part of the Regeneration trilogy explores the phenomenon of traumatized soldiers splitting their perspectives/personalities as a coping mechanism allowing them to continue to function. Something of this can be seen in the poems of Siegfried Sassoon (who is again a fictionalized character here), some of which are virulently anti-war, while others seem to idealize the courage and camaraderie of the common soldier. It's a smart book, and Barker manages to apply the idea to the culture a ...more
Eldred Buck
The Eye in the Door is the second volume in the trilogy written by Pat Barker which continues the story, only this time being conveyed through dual protagonists: the familiar Dr. Rivers of the first volume and more frequently and dramatically via one of his patients, Billy Prior, who the reader has also previously encountered.
Prior is fleshed out in this book and is interesting on a number of levels. Interesting because he is a working class boy from Lancashire, who is also an officer, a rare c
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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 Du
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More about Pat Barker...
Regeneration (Regeneration, #1) The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3) Toby's Room Life Class The Regeneration Trilogy

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“The past is a palimpsest. Early memories are always obscured by accumulations of later knowledge.” 2 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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