Pat Barker’s Double Vision: Vulnerability and Trauma in the Pastoral Mode
The September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks on the USA are commonly understood to have unsettled the West’s sense of its own global dominance and generated a collective feeling of vulnerability, a situation which has led critics2 of Pat Barker’s Double Vision (2003) to read this post-9/11 novel as
a response to that seismic shift in power relations. Even if the attacks appear only as a flashback in the novel, they manage to cast a shadow over the various depictions of violence, survival, and witnessing which occupy its narrative. In this way Double Vision introduces a new subject into Barker’s writing while amplifying an existing theme. Namely, her longrunning novelistic study of trauma, which circulates as the creative lifeblood to her Booker Prize-winning Regeneration trilogy (1991-1995), continues to sustain the narratives of Double Vision.