Read Double Vision by Pat Barker Online


A gripping novel about the effects of violence on the journalists and artists who have dedicated themselves to representing itIn the aftermath of September 11, reeling from the effects of reporting from New York City, two British journalists, a writer, Stephen Sharkey, and a photographer, Ben Frobisher, part ways. Stephen, facing the almost simultaneous discovery that hisA gripping novel about the effects of violence on the journalists and artists who have dedicated themselves to representing itIn the aftermath of September 11, reeling from the effects of reporting from New York City, two British journalists, a writer, Stephen Sharkey, and a photographer, Ben Frobisher, part ways. Stephen, facing the almost simultaneous discovery that his wife is having an affair, returns to England shattered; he divorces and quits his job. Ben returns to his vocation. He follows the war on terror to Afghanistan and is killed. Stephen retreats to a cottage in the country to write a book about violence, and what he sees as the reporting journalist's or photographer's complicity in it; it is a book that will build in large part on Ben's writing and photography. Ben's widow, Kate, a sculptor, lives nearby, and as she and Stephen learn about each other their world speedily shrinks, in pleasing but also disturbing ways; Stephen's maid, with whom he has begun an affair, was once lovers with Kate's new studio assistant, an odd local man named Peter. As these connections become clear, Peter's strange behavior around Stephen and Kate begins to take on threatening implications. The sinister events that take place in this small town, so far from the theaters of war Stephen has retreated from, will force him to act instinctively, violently, and to face his most painful revelations about himself. ...

Title : Double Vision
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374209056
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Double Vision Reviews

  • Laura Leaney
    2019-03-27 08:56

    I read this book for a class I'm taking, with the requirement to pay particular attention to point of view. And the point of view is interesting. Barker chooses third-person close for two primary characters, switching between them at well chosen places in the narration, and veers off into what seems like omniscience at various points. She does this so smoothly that I had to pause and contemplate how it happened. The story is good, a post 9-11 trauma set in the English countryside. Unfortunately, the only character with any depth is Stephen, a foreign correspondent with PTSD who has a fascinating resurgence in life after he begins a sexual affair with his brother's nanny, a girl twenty years younger. Yep, that'll do it. Most of the other characters, both major and minor, seem flat and "to type." Tortured atheist artist sculpting Christ figure, confused ineffectual vicar, sexually uninhibited vicar's daughter, et cetera. Nevertheless, the fun of the book is due to the tension and suspense that Barker creates around a young good-looking convict, freed from prison for a crime the local vicar chooses not to reveal. I don't want to spoil the plot, so I'll stop here.

  • Jane Branson
    2019-03-29 06:39

    I felt this book was mis-described in the blurb. It's a very good read, but it doesn't quite do the things claimed for it; it does other great things instead. Particularly interesting is the exploration of how war is represented, particularly in photographic art. This widens out, as one of the characters is a foreign correspondent and one is a sculptor, so that some general ideas about the hows and whys of art are also touched on. There is also a more uncomfortable thread about crime and the possibility of rehabilitation, and a range of more domestic issues also pop up - parenting, the value of different types of work, marital failure. All this is played out amongst a set of characters who feel, when you list them like this, a bit like the cast of a Miss Marple drama - the village vicar, the vicar's admirer, the vicar's nubile daughter, the doctor etc. I really enjoyed it, especially the narrative voice, which manages to be very authentic even while shifting between several close to third-person perspectives.

  • Theryn Fleming
    2019-03-21 03:55

    There are two main characters in Double Vision: a burned-out war journalist who is grappling with the death of his photographer friend, and the photographer's wife, a sculptor, who is not only dealing with the death of her husband, but also recovering from a bad car accident. Their lives intersect when the journalist returns home to work on a book about his experiences. A romantic relationship does develop, but not between these two characters. It's an absorbing story on the surface level. But it also—as is typical for a Barker novel—explores complex questions about war and violence. This isn't my favorite Barker book, but it's the best book I've read this year.

  • Kerry
    2019-04-09 08:55

    Within the first few pages of this book, I knew that I wouldn't be able to recommend 'Double Vision' to any of my male friends, this is a novel geared particularly at a female readership, exploring the complexities of relationships within a small-knit community. At the heart of it all are two key characters: Stephen and Kate, who are both profoundly affected by the death of Ben, their respective colleague and husband who was killed in Afghanistan. My expectation was that this consequently would play a large part in how the novel panned out, however my feeling was that this event was overshadowed somewhat by their sexual tensions with other characters within the novel, the explicitly sexual Justine, the vicar's 19 year old daughter; and Peter, a mysterious young and tanned gentleman with a secret past. My feeling was that there wasn't much separating this from any other piece of chick-lit, however this is a very well written story, with vivid imagery and a play on the senses, which any female reader could easily lose themselves in. I suppose I expected more out of this book, but on the whole, it made for an enjoyable read.

  • Deepti Patel
    2019-03-28 07:59

    My first of Pat Barker, Double Vision is a novel that holds Within its pages - war, crime, murder, rape, love, hate, sex, artistry, creativity, duplicity, anger, tenderness, inspiration , and lot more.The narration style is good. the author switches narrators with such ease that you'd not even notice the change . but somehow the book left me unsatisfied, sort of wanting for more. There was an absence of resolution for the characters issues, and the characters themselves. Stephan will always remember what he saw that night, Kate will continue to mourn Ben’s death, and Justine was left with her feelings for Peter. Justine and Stephan get into a relationship to get over their past relationships, but that isn't specified. At the book's end , Kate is still trying to get on with her life post Ben's death, Stephan's sis in law is working to save her marriage .... and a list of unresolved issues of all the characters.If you are looking for satisfaction this isn't a book to pick.

  • Ellen
    2019-03-25 04:43

    I loved Pat Barker's trilogy about WWI soldiers. This book is set in post-9/11 England, shortly after the mad cow scare required the destruction of livestock across the country. I really enjoy her writing style and was starting to feel very involved in the characters when the book ended quite abruptly! Part of the challenge was that I was listening to an MP3 version in my car and had no idea how many "pages" were left, so I was completely taken aback to find that it was over. I'd love to know what happened to the characters and all the unresolved plot points. Perhaps this is the first in another trilogy, I hope so. I'll have to read other reviews and see if anyone else had this reaction. I recommend it but don't be surprised when it's over before your questions are answered.

  • Ian
    2019-04-09 03:35

    Great read. The usual Pat Barker themes of art, love and the traumatic after effect of war - in this case on journalists and those close to them when they return home or indeed when they fail to do so. The story focuses particularly on Kate, the artist/sculptor widow of Ben, a photojournalist who has recently been killed in Afghanistan and also on his friend Stephen, a fellow journalist who first met Ben amongst the horrors of Sarajevo. My one reservation would be decision of the author to include 9/11 and to have had both Ben and Stephen in New York to witness it. I just can't work out why two war journalists would both be in NY on that day. Bit too much of a coincidence and the novel and its themes would have worked quite happily without it. Maybe knock off half a star, but it still had me hooked from beginning to end.

  • Jo Bullen
    2019-04-11 07:44

    So I originally read this about 10 years ago for my undergrad, and they're trotting it out again for my postgrad and... holy moly, how perverted is this book?! We've done some work on the male gaze recently and maybe I've become overly sensitive, but almost every page was a comment on a woman's breasts, lips or bum. As if it was just a regular way of talking. As if that's how all men perceive women. Maybe it is, but it seems presumptuous of a woman to adopt this as her mode of speaking as a man.I'm not saying it's a bad book, per se, but it doesn't really get anywhere other than people looking at people and making assumptions. And a neat vague love story, and a second act moment of pure weirdness which is never resolved and a third act random moment of violence which seems to serve just to make a woman weak. Truly a strange read.

  • Darcy
    2019-04-04 03:37

    After having read the critically acclaimed Regeneration trilogy a number of years ago, I was expecting a lot from Pat Barker’s Double Vision. It delivered in the sense that it provided a narrative in motion to Sontag’s theories of photography in the modern and war torn world, and highlights Barker’s ability to show trauma and survival in the face of mental and physical strife in varying levels of ailments. Some metaphors and use of pathetic fallacy seemed fumbled, but all in all a didactic novel.

  • Rick
    2019-03-30 04:47

    I bought the book for 2 euro in a thrift store in 2003 paperback edition, basically because I like Pat Barker's trilogy so much, and what is 2 euro ? But this was a big surprise, and an unexpected one. I expected not much from it, even wondered why she wrote something like this, but it turned out to be a page turner that I could not put away any more. It is written very well, the stroy line is good and the part about war photography and war correspondents was really good, and when violence suddenly pops up it's, spoiler alert ! Lovely book.

  • John
    2019-04-20 10:43

    I was a bit bemused by the ending of this novel. I did enjoy the vivid imagery used. The characters though were a bit unbelievable. Justine the young attractive vicars daughter and the 20 year older lover. Kate the sculptor was good coming to terms with her husbands death. There was an undertone of something sinister going to happen which did but not what I expected. My favorite bit was the description of the Farnes and the terns dive bombing. Something I myself have experienced. All in all a reasonable read and I will definitely try to read a few more of her novels.

  • Gill Schell
    2019-04-12 06:54

    This book did nothing for me. Lots of potential and easy to read but left me feeling cold. I couldn't relate to the characters or their feelings. Not memorable and not one of Barker's best.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-07 06:40

    Hmmm, this is a bit of a strange one - it's well written and very readable, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere and nothing is resolved by the end.

  • Paul Patterson
    2019-03-23 07:32

    Double Vision is a superbly crafted novel concentrating on the horrendous cost of war on the lives and psyches of those associated with it. The story commences with the random accident of Kate Frobisher, a war widow, who although atheist herself is engaged in a sculpture of the crucified Christ for the local vicarage. Her freak accident on an icy road parallels the random death of her war photographer husband who suddenly died when hit in Afghanistan's crossfire. His friend Steven Sharkey the novel’s chief protagonist lives and suffers survivor guilt. The thread that connects the novel’s events and characters is arbitrary victimhood. The Christ, Kate, and Stephen and his young girlfriend Justine suffer for no real intrinsic reasons. They are victims of violence beyond their control. Each character, including the sculptured Christ, is subjected to a series of indignities from Kate's innocent hiring of Peter Wingrave a psychotic cross-dressing handy man, to Stephen's girlfriend Justine who is savagely attacked by burglars in the mid-afternoon, and his son Adam a victim of Aspberger’s syndrome. The suffering of Stephen Sharkey is the bond at the centre of the novel that gives Double Vision a consistent theme. While there is really no resolution in the book, it hangs together on the experience of witnessing violence and how this violence is interpreted to others. Stephen's proposed book on the representation of violence in war concerns how we represent violence; victimhood and meaningless in any context. The message seems to be that evil ought not to be given a coherent meaningfulness through art, literature or life - evil strikes where it will. Suffering is not made purposeful in Double Vision. Unfortunately, what strikes the reader as the substitute for meaning and purpose is sex.. Stephen says as much when he describes his sex permeated days and nights with Justine, the luscious vicar's daughter. Huge sections of the book focus on this diversion which provides a sensual detraction from suffering. Justine and Stephen do transcend their physical attraction and move on to a more solid base of relationship. That base ironically might be understood as the kinship of those who suffer unjustly and through hope move beyond it. Kate's persistence as an artist and a mournful widow is only slightly more elevating. The moral tone of Double Vision in my opinion leaves a reader straddled between meaningless victimhood and mind-numbing pleasure. Like Stephen's proposed book it was a excellent depiction of the representation of violence but will little relief in the end, other than prurient fascination. The plot could have been improved by a prolonged contemplation on Kate’s realistically crucified victim whose sacrifice makes suffering mysteriously meaningful. Her Christ in not toned down religious version of the crucified but could be seen as a victim of political cruelty who had become a source of hope for other victims. Kate however does not envision this hope her conclusion is, “the strong take what they can, the weak endure what they must, and the dead emphatically do not rise".

  • Lucy
    2019-04-21 08:32

    Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy was a favourite of mine while in college, and I always have high hopes when I come across other novels by her. I thought I may have found it on reading ‘Winner of the 1995 Booker Prize’ on the front cover of Double Vision. As I into the novel though I began to think this couldn’t be true. For one thing the book spoke of 9/11 which of course hadn’t happened in 1995. On further research I found that Barker did win the 1995 Booker award, but for The Ghost Road, not Double Vision. I did think the cover was very misleading however and it probably effected somewhat how I approached the book.The book started off quite well. I liked Kate and found her interesting. I think a whole story focussing on her would have been interesting, and I ended the book wanting to know more about what had happened to her, and about the mystery to do with her sculpture. Steven I liked well enough but was more interested in him as a vehicle for Ben’s story. In fact I had the impression that most of the story would be about him and Ben and felt let down that Ben’s story was only really given a mention a few times. I think in this sense the blurb was very misleading. I thought Peter was a really interesting character and I would have loved to see his view point, and found out what his motivations were, although there is something I like about the mystery there and I am happy to imagine.I got the feeling that Barker started this story with one idea in mind, but gradually got distracted by different story lines, meaning that none were ever really completed to my satisfaction. Although I generally enjoyed the progression of the storys I was disappointed with the conclusion of them. The actual ending that was there I found pretty pointless, in fact it felt like Barker believed she needed some action and added the end of the story simply to give that. The whole robbery idea seemed completely out of sorts with the rest of the story and I didn’t really care enough about Justine for it to be acceptable as another storyline. I also didn’t understand that suddenly Stephen was in love with Justine. It was never about love before, they both knew it wasn’t going to last, they didn’t really want it too. It felt misogynist that Stephen suddenly loved her when she was venerable. It felt like he loved her because she was venerable and liked the idea of being the big strong man. The Stephen/Justine storyline was never one of romance for me, and I was happy with that until the end when Barker seemed to was to make it into a romance.I do think a lot of what I disliked was to do with the way the book was presented. From the synopsis I expected more of a ‘war’ book (which in general I enjoy). From the cover I expected an award winner.If you’re not a reader of Barker please don’t start with this one. Start with Regeneration. Please. The series is fantastic. Life Class isn’t bad, but not a patch on Regeneration. This one feel free to read, but don’t expect too much, I think half my dislike was caused by my expectations.

  • Sandra Danby
    2019-03-22 08:45

    This is different from a lot of the war fiction by Pat Barker in that it deals with the aftermath of war rather than life during war. ‘Double Vision’ is set in Barker’s NE England, with both countryside and city drawn clearly.War reporter Stephen Sharkey returns to the NE to stay in his brother’s isolated holiday cottage, he has resigned his job and plans to write a book. It seems idyllic, peaceful, but his dreams are full of war memories, particularly the body of a girl discovered in a Sarajevo ruin, raped and murdered. Kate Frobisher, widow of Sharkey’s war photographer colleague Ben, is a sculptor. She is struggling too, with being alone, and with injuries sustained in a car accident. Kate’s progress with the sculpture of a man, with the deadline looming, forms the spine of this novel.This is not a love story in that there is no romance but it is a story about the love of family, of community, of responsibility. And it is also about the opposite of love: hate, as done to the girl in that Sarajevo ruin. The horrors that man does to man, in wartime and ordinary time, and whether forgiveness and love can redeem those horrors.Barker populates her story with a tightly-drawn circle of characters, puts them into relationships, then mixes things up. Kate cannot physically cope with the work required to sculpt and so hires a man to do the heavy lifting, a man recommended by the local vicar Alec. Justine, the sister of the local vicar, is a part-time nanny for Sharkey’s nephew, she and Sharkey become lovers. Then there is Stephen’s brother Robert and his wife Beth, on the outside their life in a beautiful country house seems beautiful. But is it? And who is Peter, the gardener/labourer who becomes Kate’s assistant, who seems to lurk quietly in the background.There is a tension underlying this story but it is not a thriller, there is not a murderer lurking in the shadows, but Barker makes you want to read on, to find out what happens to these people. I love Pat Barker’s writing, she has a minimal style which reminds me of Hemingway. She seems incapable of writing an unnecessary word. Here’s one small example: ‘His sleep was threadbare, like cheap curtains letting in too much light.’ I know just what she means.Read more of my book reviews at

  • Leigh
    2019-04-02 05:46

    One of Barker's best novels, I think, especially in the strength of its characterization and the purity of its prose, which is lucid and poetic and devoid of artifice. Look at this:He drank [coffee] sitting by the window, the hot fluid delineating his oesophagus, another part of his living body reclaimed from the dark.... All the time he was debriefing himself, sorting out the dream. He knew if he didn't take time to do this, it could stain and corrupt the whole day.Also notable: the thoughtfulness of its examination of art and the position of spectatorship, particularly related to war photography. "The shadow says I'm here"; the observer effect is inescapable. When you consider how much Barker writes about war and violence (and how she had the audacity to write a war she didn't even witness in the Regeneration trilogy), it's a pretty daring commentary.And finally, there is nothing, nothing, that I don't love about this description of Justine:No mention of grades. Bright and modest, or so perfectionist that no grades were good enough? There was nothing sharp or quick about her, nothing obviously clever--she seemed, if anything, rather hesitant. Young for her age. Painfully young. He kept getting this sense of pain from her--and yet she sounded cheerful enough.Read the Regeneration trilogy first, especially if WWI is your bag; but after you've absorbed that, come back for this quieter book.

  • Ashley Delgado
    2019-03-26 03:32

    In the book Double Vision by Pat Barker, a man named Ben, the husband of Kate who is a sculptor, was a photographer. He would always cover topics such as war and conflict all over the world. One day his work came to an end. I can't imagine how that would feel if that happened to a loved one. They weren't in the war, they were just taking pictures, and never came home. On top of trying to recover from the loss of a loved one, I became disabled from an accident? I'm not really sure how I would've handled that whole situation. Kate was a strong woman, compared to me. She pushed through the heartache and the pain, and still lived her life creating sculptures. I feel sorry for those that do go through something tragic like that. Not just a meer accident, but someone that is enrolled in the war, or is in a car accident. A lot of the time death just comes at someone without any warnings. That's the hard thing about it all. Like I said, Kate believed in herself. She believed she could finish her sculpture, she just needed help. I thank those who serve our countries and I pray for those who have injured loved ones. Level 3 question; Today more and more people enlist in the army, do you think that you could be as strong as Kate was if your loved one were to be drafted?

  • Emily Harjo
    2019-03-24 03:38

    Double Vision by Pat Barker, deals with the struggles of the characters as they wrestle with their personal issues. The image that haunts Stephan most is of a raped and murdered woman. One night while Stephan and Ben were making their way back to their hotel, they stumble on a sight that Stephan will continue to carry with him back home to England. Throughout the novel Kate is trying to come to terms with, her husband, Ben’s death. Unknowingly Kate hangs the photo that ultimately took Ben’s life in her studio, but only Stephan knows its significance. Justine and Stephan are both trying to get over their past relationships by being together, although that motif isn’t suggested. Justine’ ex Peter left her out of the blue and she’s still struggling with his absence. My opinion of the book Double Vision is that it left its reader unsatisfied. There was an absence of resolution for the characters issues, and the characters themselves. Stephan will always remember what he saw that night, Kate will continue to mourn Ben’s death, and Justine was left with her feelings for Peter. If your looking for satisfaction go eat a package of Oreos, because Double Vision will leave you feeling like your on the Jenny Craig diet.QUESTION;How are past relationships influential in present or future relationships?

  • Carolyn Mck
    2019-04-19 06:51

    After reading Barker's most recent novel, Noonday, I decided to re-read this, which I first read about 6 years ago. I really didn't remember much about it and after having read it again I think that, while very readable, with interesting characters and Barker's usual controlled and thoughtful style, it isn't a particularly memorable book. As in a number of her novels, Barker is interested in how art (or writing) interprets suffering. Ben Frobisher was a war photographer who was killed in Afghanistan. Kate is his widow (and a sculptor) and Stephen his friend (and a war correspondent). Other characters include the local priest, his daughter (with whom Stephen has an affair) and the enigmatic Peter Wingrave, a young man being given a chance to rehabilitate after a criminal offence. For me, the story was weakened by the shift in focus from Kate, Peter and Stephen to Stephen's love affair with Justine.As with Noonday, the title is somewhat puzzling. Double vision is having two perceptions of the same image. Is there a clue in Barker's epigraph, a quote from the artist Goya - 'One cannot look at this. This is the truth.' Perhaps people generally shy away from seeing harsh reality but the artist is responsible for showing us life as it is, however brutal.

  • Karen
    2019-04-07 09:49

    Another excellent book by Pat Barker. She conveys the psychological details of her characters so clearly. It's a joy to pick up any of her books. This one (like so many of the others) explores some heavy themes. She delves into the responsibility of journalists and artists in conveying acts of violence. She also examines how violence and loss can transform lives and what the moral response should be. I absolutely love her style of writing and her approach in dealing with large themes like war, death, violence, divorce, love, art by putting these themes in the context of characters who have full, detailed lives. None of them are stand ins for ideas--they are people.A while ago I had some discussion with others about books like Lolita and the Quiet American. I completely understand that those books have characters stand in for larger themes--and I enjoy reading them. But I personally find Barker's style immensely more satisfying. Her writing doesn't reach the heights of these other novels (it just isn't as strong--but I would put it above McEwan). But I enjoy her project more.She's on a short list for me--authors who I want to read every novel they write.

  • Dora Okeyo
    2019-04-20 09:39

    Something about this book got me reading it hoping for some kind of ending- if not a perfect one but some kind of resolution at least. I didn't quite get what I wanted.But: It's about a lot of people-there's Stephen the War Correspondent who's just divorced his wife-and keep seeing images of people and places that he took during various wars-and he is set to write a book about his experience as a photographer-and still mourns his best friend-Ben.Then there's Justine the 19 year old Stephen loves.Then there's Robert- his brother, a Researcher who is sweet and is known to be having affairs- but still is bent on working on his marriage.Then there's Kate- the Artist who is Ben's Widow.Then there's Peter- the weird gardener/handy man who gives everyone the creeps (including the Reader) but turns out he is not the one who commits the crime in the storySo: Read it- and simply ask yourself why the story did not simply focus on Stephen and him coming to terms with his post traumatic stress disorder-without involving so many people.Award: 3 starsReason: I was feeling generous- but one thing is certain-there's a crime in the story and you are left wondering who did it?

  • Rusty
    2019-03-30 05:54

    This author is a master with character development and weaving an interesting story. The book was easy to read and as I made my way through the pages I felt so close to the characters. Stephen Starkey is war correspondent has retired because of shell shock (post traumatic stress disorder). His sleep is disrupted by nightmares of what he has seen and experienced. He has divorced his wife and his best friend, Ben Frobisher, a writer and photographer, was killed by a sniper. As he tries to reconstruct his life, he works with Ben's wife, Kate, a sculptor, who misses her husband deeply. She has just survived a terrible auto accident. The two cope with their emotional rends in different ways. Stephen turns to sexual relief provided by Justine, his brother's au pair. Kate focuses on gaining strength in her hands, arms and shoulders and hires a young assistant, Peter Wingate, whose strength replaces her own as she works on an important commissioned sculpture. Interestingly, Peter was Justine's last boy friend. This is not a mystery, not a romance, not a thriller. It is a story about healing.

  • Toto
    2019-04-09 05:53

    Pat Barker has made a name for herself with her books on art and war -- sometimes together as a theme as it is here, sometimes standalone as in Life Class. Here the connection is oblique. The widow of a war journalist makes a huge Christ statue in her rural studio. During the making of it, she meets some side characters each of whom has a violent past. Their lives entangle and disentangle, and they move on. Barker's books are always readable and suspenseful. She is particularly good at describing the effects of physical violance and recuperation from illness and hurt. As to the larger meaning in her work about the role of art, I'm not clear. She's not as trite as some others who sees a necessary redemptive power of creativity. No one here or elsewhere in her ouvre is made whole, thank God, by creating something new. Barker's approach seems to suggest that the impulse to create is not unlike the impulse to destroy: a brute fact about us that work off each other as we go to war and find peace.

  • zespri
    2019-04-19 04:54

    A perfectly good story, but did not engage me nearly as much as the Regeneration trilogy which I loved did.A similar theme is introduced, namely, the effects of war on those involved - whether directly or indirectly. This time, one of the main characters is a foreign war correspondent who is recovering from a divorce and the loss of a photographer friend from sniper fire. He has also become disillusioned with his work and has decided to take a complete step back from it and to write a book.He moves to the country where his brother has a cottage on his property where he can take time to write and recover from his recent circumstances. A cast of characters is introduced, the widow of his photographer friend, a housekeeper with whom he starts a relationship, and an oddball called Peter who links them all together in a sinister and unexpected way.

  • The Wee Hen
    2019-03-26 06:48

    I have really become pedantic about what I like to read. This was just a little too "novel-y" for me. It was described as a psychological thriller and it just only barely fulfilled its promise. Far too much mithering about with high-mindedness and deep, introspective thoughts about war and violence and representation and not enough crime drama. We never know who committed the central crime in the book and we don't seem to give a damn. One of the characters seems very dodgy and suspicious but it never goes anywhere and the little bit we do find out about him is never really explored or explained in a satisfactory manner. Really disappointing book. Don't know if I'll bother to give Barker another chance.

  • sisterimapoet
    2019-04-20 04:38

    For me the main weakness of this book was the plot. I enjoyed about three quarters of the book, expecting some neat resolutions and things falling into place in the last part - but that never happened.I feel that Barker starting writing without knowing where she was heading. There were interesting parts that would have made good books in themselves (the sculpter/assistant storyline and the returning war correspondent/Goya thread) but they got such a glancing touch as to fall by the wayside.Overall I feel let down, and a bit as if I just read an episode of Midsummer Murders without finding out who did it.

  • KatieLou
    2019-04-11 10:42

    Not a genre I would usually read but interesting nonetheless. What I liked about this book was the relationship dynamics and the ability to hold the readers attention with the tension. The secrets and plot of the different characters was engaging and entertaining.However, sometimes I felt there was a lack of description when it was needed. It felt rushed and only after continuing to read did I understand what was going on. Also, some of the questions raised in the book were not completely answered. I'm not sure if the ambiguity is a good or a bad thing.

  • Evelyn Leong
    2019-04-11 05:53

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel -- set in the events of 9/11, the novel dealt with the aftermath of covering war and how the individual characters swirled around one another and yet were truly alone in their anxieties and fears. Barker has a lovely way of letting her readers get to know the characters by having other characters react and describe them. This is a novel about very lonely people, lonely by choice and by circumstance. Each has glimpses of moving past their grief and, in a way, their pasts but those moments are short-lived and rare.

  • Angie
    2019-04-17 09:58

    An ok read here from Pat Barker who I have always admired. Maybe its because her major works are set in fairly traumatic backdrops that they have had more of an impact on me (Regeneration Trilogy as an example, however Union Street is one of my faves and isn't set in a war-torn backdrop unless you count 1970's - 80's Thatcher's Britain as one!) but this story seemed a little weak at times. I quite enjoyed it and it was a fairly eerie thriller but I felt it lacked the final denouement which I was looking forward to. As ever, it was well written and would make a good holiday read.