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Double Vision by Pat Barker
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Double Vision (edition 2003)

by Pat Barker

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3891227,583 (3.5)16
Member:LizzySiddal
Title:Double Vision
Authors:Pat Barker
Info:Hamish Hamilton Ltd (2003), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:1st, fiction, read 2007, read, anglophone

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Double Vision by Pat Barker

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» See also 16 mentions

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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 http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Feb 6, 2017 |
good read — too many unfinished stories at the end
Writer — War — Photo killed, his sculptress wife — Peter — thief?

A gripping novel about the effects of violence on the journalists and artists who have dedicated themselves to representing it
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. He follows the war on terror to Afghanistan and is killed.
  christinejoseph | Dec 23, 2016 |
It's not often that I agree with anything in the Telegraph, but the line on the cover "unputdownable and thought-provoking" describes my feelings on this book fairly precisely. A much more modern setting than many of her books, but issues of grief and guilt are again at the core of this book. Her writing is eloquent but never over wordy and she makes you savour many of her sentences. Highly recommended. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Having covered it all, from Bosnia to Ground Zero, foreign correspondent Stephen has hung up his flak jacket and gone to ground in a cottage on his brother's land, in a rural north-east devastated by the foot-and-mouth disaster. Two things have particularly moved him - the body of a raped and mutilated girl on a stairwell in Sarajevo, and the death of his war photographer friend, Ben Frobisher, shot while taking his own last shot on a road in Afghanistan.
Ben's sculptress widow, Kate, lives nearby, neck in a brace from a road accident but determined to complete the huge figure of Christ she is making for the cathedral. Unwillingly, she has hired for the heavy work a young assistant, the personable but unsettling Peter Wingrave, who comes recommended by her philanthropic vicar friend. The vicar is father of Stephen's girlfriend, the much younger Justine, a fresh-faced, sensible girl who has a romantic history with the mysterious Peter. ( )
  dalzan | Apr 21, 2013 |
gelezen
  kristel76 | Jan 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pat Barkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bekker, Jos denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312424108, Paperback)

In the aftermath of covering 9/11, English war reporter Stephen Sharkey and photographer Ben Frobisher leave New York and part company. Stephen returns to the devastating discovery of the end of his marriage; while on assignment in Afghanistan Ben is killed. Retreating to the English countryside to write a book questioning the role of the war reporter and photographer Stephen enters into complicated relationships with Ben’s widow Kate, a sculptor, her disturbing and sinister young studio assistant, and a young au-pair. Set far from the literal theatre of war, Double Vision is nonetheless a novel about its representation and effects as Pat Barker once more lays bare the complexities of desire and violence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Profoundly affected by the events of September 11th and its aftermath, two British journalists return to England to face different fates, in a study of the effects of violence on those who come in contact with it.

(summary from another edition)

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