London,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 must confront his inability to be the dutiful soldier his superiors wish him to be


10 thoughts on “The Eye in the Door

  1. Paul Paul says:

    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 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 Barker focuses on the maelstrom of opinion, debate and misinformation that comes with a society at war She uses Prior, unfit to return to France, working for military intelligence and having affairs with men and women to take us round what is happening Barker describes the lives of those opposing the war, pacifists and those sheltering deserters and those contemplatingdrastic measures There is also a window on one of thebizarre incidents which took place in Britain, which would be entirely unbelievable, if it wasn t true The varied attitudes towards because of the strains of wartime have been well documented However one particular sensational libel case stands out Noel Pemberton Billing aviator and would be MP was convinced that homosexuality was infiltrating society and damaging the war effort He was convinced the Germans had a list of 47 000 prominent homosexuals who they could blackmail He teamed up with Harold Spencer who was working for the secret services They were convinced the Germans were trying to propagate evils which all decent men thought had perished in Sodom and Lesbia Even Margot Asquith was publicly attacked However they particularly disliked Robbie Ross and old friend and supporter of Wilde He had organised a production of Wilde s Salome with Maud Allen in the lead role Billing published an article called The Cult of the Clitoris which accused Allen of being a lesbian She sued Billing and lost The strain told on Ross and he died before the end of the war Barker weaves all of this into the novel very effectively via Prior and a new character Manning and builds the feeling of paranoia very effectively.Again the descriptions of the nightmares, the effects of shell shock and its varying treatment are very effective and one remains in no doubt about the horrors of war Sassoon features again, fighting his demons with the help of Rivers but it is Prior who takes centre stage He is a complex character and Barker analyses his bisexuality and the effects trauma has on his psyche It s excellent stuff and well worth the effort of seeking out


  2. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    Sometimes, mostly, I forget books that I give up on and don t finish, this is one of the few that I can remember with certainty that I got too annoyed with to complete.The main character, Billy Prior, is an Everyman For some bizarre personal reason of my own I did not expect that this would be interpreted literally So Prior is an officer of working class origin, ship worker father domestic service mother, bisexual, in a relationship with a munitions worker, suffers shell shock, was a boy pro Sometimes, mostly, I forget books that I give up on and don t finish, this is one of the few that I can remember with certainty that I got too annoyed with to complete.The main character, Billy Prior, is an Everyman For some bizarre personal reason of my own I did not expect that this would be interpreted literally So Prior is an officer of working class origin, ship worker father domestic service mother, bisexual, in a relationship with a munitions worker, suffers shell shock, was a boy prostitute, picks up brother officers for casual sex, lived on the same street as the woman who tried not very well to assassinate Lloyd GeorgeAny one of those would have made for an interesting character in a WWI setting When all of these are present in the same character I put the book aside Any one of those elements might have been enough to show me that Prior is a liminal character, all of them though was too much for me.The old woman, and former neighbour, in prison for an attempted assassination of Lloyd George and that Prior was sent into question her, apparently randomly rather than because it was known that he was conversant in the topolects of the North east of England, was the straw which broke the camel s back of plausibility in this story to my mind.I m happy to admit that this is a failing on my side, a grim wish that the realistic should be realistic and the symbolic symbolic, but there you go, we all have our short comings I enjoyed Regeneration though already there I preferred Barker s version of the historical characters to her fictional Billy Prior


  3. Shovelmonkey1 Shovelmonkey1 says:

    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 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 The Ghost Road in the other I said, I do and took the plunge, spending a week with them.The Eye in the Door slightlywide ranging in its historical wanderings than Regeneration which was a bit bed bound, staying mainly within the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh Eye takes a closer look at the political and historical background to the period of World War I, specifically, what was happening on home turf Adding colour to the political landscape are individuals such as Churchill, Bertrand Russell and also Noel Pemberton Billing, well known homophobe, media mogul and conspiracy theorist You might think it would be easy to dismiss this man and his campaign against homosexual men in British public life as a right wing crankery but rather unfortunately he was also an MP so people tended to listen to him and take him seriously It is fair to say that despite the single minded focus on the war, Britain was fighting a war on its own home front too A confused war against its own working classes, against shop stewards, strikers, pacifists and those whose sexual orientation, it was alleged, would make them weak and likely targets in bribery and espionage by the Germans It was said that loose lips sink ships during World War II World War I was the war that feared it would be torpedoed by loose zips.The majority of the story focuses on Billy Prior, now liberated from Craiglockhart and trying to resume a normal life in one of the many ministries which sprung up, Big Brother style, between 1914 and 1918 Prior character is simultaneously a manifold ensemble of things that the Brits are professing to admire and loath He is a soldier, honourably relieved from service at the front and given home service duties, he has seen action and fought for his country but despite being an officer he is from a working class background, is friends with activists and socialists and is also bi sexual, enjoying relationships with munitions worker girlfriend, Sarah Lund no not the lady off of The killing , as well as fellow Craiglockhart survivor, Charles Manning Billy is not the typical everyman and he has multiple issues however he is the conduit through which we are permitted a look at tumultuous World War I England He is our Eye in the Door.This was in all honesty my least favourite segment of the trilogy, but it s a useful bridge between Regeneration and The Ghost Road if you re going to read all three


  4. ·Karen· ·Karen· says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Mac is in Wandsworth A radical pacifist who worked to sabotage the production of munitions, he has been betrayed and caughtI didn t believe it The sergeant in Liverpool told me it was you, I mean, he mentioned your name He was standing on my scrotum at the time, so, as you can imagine, it had a certain ring to it I still didn t believe it, but theI thought about it theI thought, yes Mac was speaking intently, and yet almost indifferently, as if he didn t care whether Prior li Mac is in Wandsworth A radical pacifist who worked to sabotage the production of munitions, he has been betrayed and caughtI didn t believe it The sergeant in Liverpool told me it was you, I mean, he mentioned your name He was standing on my scrotum at the time, so, as you can imagine, it had a certain ring to it I still didn t believe it, but theI thought about it theI thought, yes Mac was speaking intently, and yet almost indifferently, as if he didn t care whether Prior listened or not Perhaps speaking at all was merely a way of salving his pride, of distracting Prior s attention while the all important business of devouring the chocolate went on And then I thought, he told you Do you remember in the cattle shed I asked you what you d have done if you d found a deserter in Hettie s scullery and you said, I d turn him in What else could I do And then I remembered a story I heard, about a man who found a snake half dead and nursed it back to life He fed it, took care of it And then he let it go And the next time they met it bit him And this was a very poisonous snake, he knew he was going to die And with his last gasp, he said, But why I saved you, I fed you, I nursed you Why did you bite me And the snake said, But you knew I was a snake In war time nurturing men are expected to turn into snakes It is a violence against their nature, that can only be managed by disassociation.And here s another of those quirky ironies that expose the absurdity while there is carnage in Picardy, people in London areinterested in who is sleeping with whom and who is being blackmailed.I see from other reviews that some folks have trouble relating to the characters here, find them too artificial, too obviously fictional It may have to do with Barker s multi perspective approach, perhaps We move from Prior to Manning to Rivers and back, never snuggling in close to any of them That s fine by me Their nightmares are disturbing enough, no desire to coorie up.Barker has a wonderful ear for dialogue I shall have to leave the final book in the trilogy until the next time I visit the Ancient Parents, as they are collected in a large fat hardback that I will not carry away Oops I mean the three parts of the trilogy of course, not the APs The pitfalls of sentence structure


  5. Ted Ted says:

    There were times when Prior was made physically sick by the sight and sound and smell of civilians He remembered the stench that comes off a battalion of men marching back from the line, the thick yellow stench, and he thought how preferable it was to this He knew he had to get off the streets, away from the chattering crowds and the whiffs of perfume that assaulted his nostrils whenever a woman walked past.This is a revised review of the book.the first edition 1993 cover, Penguin Books Ltd There were times when Prior was made physically sick by the sight and sound and smell of civilians He remembered the stench that comes off a battalion of men marching back from the line, the thick yellow stench, and he thought how preferable it was to this He knew he had to get off the streets, away from the chattering crowds and the whiffs of perfume that assaulted his nostrils whenever a woman walked past.This is a revised review of the book.the first edition 1993 cover, Penguin Books Ltd The following is an edited version of material from Wikipedia on the first two novels I remember very little of the story This second novel of Pat Barker s Regeneration trilogy, set in London in the spring of 1918 The first volume, whose two main characters were fictional portrayals of the real people Siegfried Sassoon and Dr W.H.R Rivers, included a third important character, the fictional Billy Prior Prior was introduced as another of Rivers patients at Craiglockhart who suffers from mutism and asthma A critic has suggested that his inability to speak highlights the novel s treatment of Western culture s inability to verbalise the mutilation of bodies caused by war Prior is a working class officer risen to the rank of lieutenant, despite his background Straddling the class divide, he sees the British army mirroring the class system, even in the trenches As this character is developed by Barker, he s revealed to be bisexual The Eye in the Door continues the interwoven stories of Rivers, Sassoon, and Billy Prior It ends some time before the conclusion of the First World War later the same year Whereas Regeneration is an anomalous, but not unique, mixture of fact and fiction, The Eye in the Door acknowledges real events, including the campaign against homosexuals being waged that year by right wing MP Noel Pemberton Billing, but remains consistently within the realm of fiction This grants Barkerfreedom to explore her characters and their actions, the descriptions of which might be considered libellous if attributed to real people A major theme of the book, Prior s intense and indiscriminate bisexuality, is effectively contrasted with Rivers tepid asexuality and Sassoon s pure homosexuality Barker presents a nuanced at detailed treatment of the psychological, political and professional life of Billy Prior, who seems to have become the central character Previous review Erasmus of Rotterdam Stefan ZweigNext review The Face of Battle KeeganMore recent review Ender s GamePrevious library review RegenerationNext library review The Ghost Road


  6. Laura Laura says:

    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, madecomplex by the fact I had to read it through one half closed eye because of the occasional graphic depictions of gay sex However, there sto the book than insight into new territory which normally I appreciate, but not so much here The story goes outside Craglockhart Ho 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, madecomplex by the fact I had to read it through one half closed eye because of the occasional graphic depictions of gay sex However, there sto the book than insight into new territory which normally I appreciate, but not so much here The story goes outside Craglockhart Hospital to follow one of theproblematic patients, Billy Prior, in his wartime duties and continued treatment with Dr Rivers But really the novel is an exploration of duality, both between people and roles, and within one s own self soldier pacifist, working class officer, doctor patient, heterosexual homosexual, sane insane The conflicts resulting from these dualities are set against the backdrop of and in some cases result from the deep and unsettling changes the Great War was causing in English society While I admit the novel is in many ways a triumph, I didn t like it at all and even had a hard time following it in places which is sort of unusual There d be no point reading it out of context of the trilogy


  7. Aubrey Aubrey says:

    If you say, I think it s morally wrong for young men to be sent out to slaughter each other, God help youVery 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 oldoften than not, and pace myself through books at an obscene rate The only difference is that I can lay claim to a fewlabels English graduate, bisexual, job holder In the eyes of many, since I achieved this at twenty five yeaIf you say, I think it s morally wrong for young men to be sent out to slaughter each other, God help youVery 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 oldoften than not, and pace myself through books at an obscene rate The only difference is that I can lay claim to a fewlabels English graduate, bisexual, job holder In the eyes of many, since I achieved this at twenty five years old rather than twenty one, I am a failure In the eyes of myself, I know that there are many others besides these failure labelers who would prefer to see me dead I suppose this is why reading this is a comfort of sorts, certainlycomfortable than the Black Lamb and Grey Falcon morass I m slogging through with its tidbits of actually valuable insight drowned in every death dealing hypocrisy known to white cis het able woman and then some Here, insanity and non heteronormativity is a given, and in this case is evenwelcome, as the LGBTQIA acronym does not mean LG is not a stronghold where biphobia runs rampant If sex with multiple genders of the dichotomy disgusts you, if those who do not ask how high when you tell them to jump on the sanity scale scare you, fuck off Both are me, and I have enough shit to deal with offline without the likes of you One began by finding mental illness mystifying, and ended by being stillmystified by health. Much like my own life trajectory, you can t really say anything happens during the course of this novel People come and go in the jails and the psyche wards Some of them pass in whatever way is demanded at the time, which can be all or nothing depending on whether women, insanity, non heteronormativity, or a foreign power is perceived as the greatest threat Various historical events happen, all of them very titillating until the boredom sets in, for the same things happen today under all the new names and the new faces and the new military industrial complexes The only difference is that there is a greater propensity to set certain events in stone as with the grandiose title of It Could Not Have Happened Until Now Reading Regeneration three years ago set yet another ball rolling to the point that I can no longer term its sequel a favorite, but I still deeply appreciate how utterly well crafted this is raw when I need it to be, suppressed when I need it to be, as the chemicals of my brain have yet to be balanced out by a full time job with health insurance Until that future guarantee arrives under a true oppression blocking sky and I can turn my way to calmer shores, persecution and self hatred and paranoia directed at outward forces only outweighed by paranoia directed at inward is my bread and butter I can t speak for those who don t say the same They are blessed by a biology that fits what was prescribed as the norm a few centuries ago, and when the world outgrows this skeleton, their reckoning is their own to deal with In the end moral and political truths have to be proved on the body, because this mass of nerve and muscle and blood is what we are. While I have a vague interest in putting off the finishing of the trilogy for another three years as a sort of masochistic time capsule, one of the lessons I ve found necessary to learn is that my naturally self starving type needs to indulge when they can In any case, I know for certain that in three years, I ll either be in grad school or on my way to a masters in library science Neither path is what is advised these days, but the birth of people like me is subtly worked against as well, so I may as well pursue what I love If someone wants to cry over my spilled milk, exit stage left The tears of the self proclaimed normal are worse than uselessYour coming here is entirely is entirely voluntary With that degree of dependency Of course it s not fucking voluntary


  8. Cathy Cathy says:

    The Regeneration Trilogy I read these books in the late 90s, after Ghost Road was first published I was in love with the British war poets of WWI at the time and this fit right in I don t remember many details, but these books were great reads Very athmospheric, accessible and captivating main characters, I suffered with them every step of the way.P.S The movie is also very good.


  9. Kelly Kelly says:

    4.5Fantastic historical fiction series about WW1 with the backdrop of psychiatric hospitals, therapist patient relationships, the treatment of pacifists and conscientious objectors, socialists, and queer people I.e all the bits that get glossed over and are coming to the surfaceandCharacters are memorable, dialogue is wry and witty, and the prose is at turns horrifying, funny, and endlessly revealing.


  10. Collin Collin says:

    Billy Prior, who was a major character in the first book of the trilogy, Regeneration, now takes the reigns of the protagonist in the second book, The Eye in the Door It is 1918 and Billy now works for the Ministry of Munitions Billy is having some major slips in time and they seem to be getting longer in duration He visits Rivers, who was the protagonist in Regeneration and Billy s second personality makes an appearance This is my favourite part in the novel Much the same as the first nove Billy Prior, who was a major character in the first book of the trilogy, Regeneration, now takes the reigns of the protagonist in the second book, The Eye in the Door It is 1918 and Billy now works for the Ministry of Munitions Billy is having some major slips in time and they seem to be getting longer in duration He visits Rivers, who was the protagonist in Regeneration and Billy s second personality makes an appearance This is my favourite part in the novel Much the same as the first novel Barker weaves fact and fiction to bind together an extremely interesting narrative The facts with this novel revolve around a fabricated conspiracy to assassinate Lloyd George by Poison We are taken into the world of the pacifists and the horrific torture and conditions they were subjected to if caught by the Ministry of Munitions spies This is where the character of Billy Prior becomes so interesting, he has a foot in both camps He has friends who are pacifists and deep down he is sympathetic to their cause, but he is also committed to his job and cannot shirk his responsibility He is torn, and maybe this has something to do with the schizophrenia, although it seems to have been formed in the trenches Barker also relies on history to touch on subjects such as class and homosexuality The reference to a Black book containing 47000 names of homosexuals is purported to be in the hands of a German Prince and a British spy claims it will be used to create anarchy and unrest in England We must remember this is 1917 and homosexuality was a crime So just the rumour of such a book, especially considering there were some very high level names said to be in it, could cause all sorts of damage Barker shows us an England, that in hindsight you would expect from a country that is locked in an unpopular interminable war in a foreign land in this era, that is in chaos You have the conscientious objectors, you have the pacifists, regular and militant, you have the spies and police tracking them down You have enemy spies sowing discontent Major resources are channelled into the war effort, food rationed, manpower, vital in the early twentieth century, severely depleted I like the fact that Barker has stayed with the same format with this novel, using historical events and characters again, and it has the same feel of the first book In my opinion Regeneration is the better of the two novels but this book is still a great read 4 Stars