Pat Barker’s Double Vision and Life Class: Revisioning Trauma in Narratives of Romance
This essay aims to discuss the themes of trauma, memory and healing through art and
love in Pat Barker’s Double Vision (2003) and Life Class (2007), which are basically romance narratives. Barker’s fiction occasionally turns its back on the realistic tradition and enters the realm of the romance to create an alternative way of realistic investigation. It is proposed in this essay that the romance exemplified in these two novels is presented through the double filter of Barker’s realism and the ethical concern of her fiction, which foregrounds a sense of loss and healing simultaneously. More significantly, Barker’s use of romance strategies aims at freeing the narratives from the constraints of realistic representation by the help of the generic structure of romance. The essay also argues that Pat Barker’s last two novels Double Vision (2003) and Life Class (2007), while confronting a traumatic past with historical realism, open a space for the silenced or unspoken parts of history by using the strategies of romance.