Double Vision A Novel

Pat Barker




Trade Paperback

272 Pages


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In 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, following the war on terror to Afghanistan, where he is killed.

Stephen retreats to a cottage in the country to write a book about violence and what he sees as the reporting journalists 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 brother's au pair, with whom Stephen has begun an affair, was once a lover of Kate's new studio assistant, a local man named Peter Wingrave, whose strange behavior around Stephen and Kate seems increasingly threatening. The sinister events that take place in this country district, so far from the theaters of war from which Stephen has retreated, will force him to act instinctively and violently, and to face painful revelations about himself and the community he thought he knew.


Praise for Double Vision

"A story that is both terrifying and fascinating . . . Wholly engrossing."—The New York Times Book Review

"As briskly taut as a thriller and, at the same time, a deeply thoughtful consideration of how our lives are changed by sweeping historical tragedy and everyday acts of violence . . . We keep paging rapidly through the novel, even as we pause to admire the trenchant reflections."—Francine Prose, O magazine

"Eerily gorgeous . . . Double Vision [shows] what a leap of faith dealing with tragedy requires, especially within relationships. Powerfully, unflinchingly, Double Vision honors how frightening it is to make that jump."—John Freeman, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"A fine novel by one of England's most talented writers . . . pat barker leaves the reader enriched by words and ideas."—The Washington Times

"[A] provocative and timely novel."—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

"In mid-career, Barker has turned herself into a maestro of the psychological thriller . . . Double Vision undeniably gets the pulse pounding."—Dan Cryer, Newsday

"There are crimes for which there may be no forgiveness, events for which there may be no forgetfulness, and Barker does not seek to ameliorate these hard facts. What she does do in this absorbing novel is emphasize the importance of continuing to ask certain questions and of seeking human connection wherever we can find them."—Margot Livesey, The Boston Globe

ql"A complex, deeply engaging ensemble piece . . . This is a very literary book, in the classic sense of the term: a book of ideas."—Neil Gordon, The New York Times

"Fifty or one hundred years from now, if a reader wants to understand the decade of Bosnia and Kosovo and Osama bin Laden, Ms. Barker's novel will offer prime testimony . . . [We] need the insight and intelligence Pat Barker has to offer."—The New York Sun

"In effortless prose as sharp and polished as new frost, Barker shows how tightly bound we are and how our actions reverberate; every step is fraught with consequence. Over the proceedings hangs a painful question: Can—and should—art attempt to capture the depths of human tragedy? Barker herself leaves the question open, but if you read her new novel, you'll say yes. Highly recommended."—Library Journal

"A gripping novel, noteworthy for the author's gifts as a stylist and her formidable, engaged intelligence."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Christmas was over. Feeling a slightly shame-faced pleasure in the restoration of normality, Kate stripped the tree of lights and decorations, cut off the main branches and dragged the trunk down to the compost heap at the bottom of the...

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  • Pat Barker

  • Pat Barker is the author of nine books, including Border Passage. The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road—part of her highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy—won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Booker Prize, respectively. She lives in England.

  • Pat Barker Copyright Ellen Warner




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