The Eye in the Door
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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 to destroy the very fabric of British society.
Central to this novel are such compelling, richly imagined characters as the brilliant and compassionate Dr. William Rivers; his most famous patient, the poet Siegfried Sassoon; and Lieutenant Billy Prior, who plays a central role as a domestic intelligence agent. With compelling, realistic dialogue and a keen eye for the social issues that have gone overlooked in mainstream media, The Eye in the Door is a triumph that equalsRegeneration and the third novel in the trilogy, the 1995 Booker Prize-winning The Ghost Road, establishing Pat Barker's place in the very forefront of contemporary novelists.
black hair. Mac. The sight of the cow in the net stayed with him. Many a night he dreamt about her and woke to lie staring into the swirling darkness. Sometimes when he woke it was already light, and then, afraid to go back to sleep, he would creep downstairs, open the door quietly and slip out into the empty, dawn-smelling streets. The only other person about at that hour was the knocker-up, an old woman with bent back and wisps of white hair escaping from a black woollen shawl, who went from
‘Now would I do that?’ ‘I don’t know. Before the war you’d’ve fucked a cow in a field if you could’ve found one to stand still for you.’ And the bull. ‘Mac, I swear —’ ‘Aw, forget it. If I was sensitive about that I’d’ve croaked years ago.’ Mac was smiling. This was almost, but not quite, a joke. Prior said, ‘Shall we sit down?’ They sat on bales of straw a few feet apart, united and divided by the rush of memory. They could see clearly enough, by moonlight and the intermittent glow of
are you going to tell me?’ ‘Yes.’ He picked up two handfuls of hair and tugged on them. ‘But it’s worse than you think. I need you to tell me what happened.’ ‘When?’ ‘On the boat.’ Her eyes widened, but she didn’t argue. ‘You gave your seat to that woman and got a cup of tea and then you went and stood over by the bar. I didn’t see what happened then, I was looking at the bank. Then the sun came out and some of the girls went out on deck and this woman thought she ought to go and keep an eye
folded, on the end of the bed. ‘Can I ask you something, Billy? Do you talk about the war in the trenches? I don’t mean day-to-day stuff, pass the ammunition, all that, I mean, “Why are we fighting?” “What is it all for?”’ ‘No. We’re ‘ere because we’re ‘ere.’ ‘Same in here.’ Prior looked puzzled. ‘There’s nobody to talk to.’ Mac smiled. ‘Morse code on the pipes. I take it I can rely on you not to tell the CO?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘“Of course”, Billy?’ ‘It wasn’t me.’ Mac smiled and shook his
‘overlaid’ their babies, abortionists who stuck their knitting needles into something vital – did they really need to be here? A bell rang. Behind him the doors opened and a dozen or so women trudged into the room, diverging into two lines as they reached the stairs to the first landing. They wore identical grey smocks that covered them from neck to ankle and blended with the iron grey of the landings, so that the women looked like columns of moving metal. Evidently they were not allowed to