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Book review: The Eye in the Door by Pat Barker

The Eye in the Door is the second book in Pat Barker’s World War I trilogy that explores life at home for soldiers.

The first of the trilogy, Regeneration, was set in a psychiatric hospital, where soldiers were trying to make sense of their traumatic experiences on the front line.

The second books centred on the government’s role in catching out traitors who stood up against the war, including a woman who was family friends with a former soldier who now worked for the government.

Amidst the intrigue and deception, there is the soldiers’ psychological scars and the prescriptive sexuality of the time.

I didn’t enjoy this instalment as much as the first – I’m a bit put off by espionage, which plays a significant part in The Eye in the Door.

The ‘eye’ of the title itself reflects the surveillance of prisoners by the government.

I was more interested in the inner lives of two returning soldiers in particular, who not only had to manage their trauma, but also hide their homosexuality.

I enjoyed the sections where they were discussing their struggles with their psychologist, Rivers, but I found other parts a little boring.

I will still read the third book in the series, as I would like to know how Barker finishes off her trilogy; once you’ve read two of the series, it’s hard not to finish it off.

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