Life Class by Pat Barker

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Synopsis

In the spring of 1914, a group of students at the Slade School of Art have gathered for a life-drawing class. Paul Tarrant is easily distracted by an intriguing fellow student, Elinor Brooke, but watches from afar when a well-known painter catches her eye. After World War I begins, Paul tends to the dying soldiers from the front line as a Belgian Red Cross volunteer, but the longer he remains, the greater the distance between him and home becomes. By the time he returns, Paul must confront not only the overwhelming, perhaps impossible challenge of how to express all that he has seen and experienced, but also the fact that life, and love, will never be the same for him again.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Pat Barker

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PAT BARKER has earned a place in the first rank of contemporary British writers with such novels as Union Street, Regeneration (shortlisted for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize and chosen by the New York Times as one of the four best novels of 1992), The Eye in the Door (winner of the 1993 Guardian fiction prize), and The Ghost Road (winner of the 1995 Booker Prize). The latter three novels are available in Dutton hardcover and Plume paperback editions. Pat Barker lives in Durham, England.
 
Published December 24, 2008 by Anchor. 322 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Professional & Technical, Arts & Photography, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Life Class

Kirkus Reviews

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Then, the War—hitherto a threatening presence rumbling in the background—takes Paul and another Slade classmate, wealthy, supremely confident Kit Neville, to Belgium, where Paul labors as an orderly in a battlefield “hospital” in Ypres, two miles from the front.

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The New York Times

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In Pat Barker’s novel, a coterie of painters is overtaken by World War I.

Jan 27 2008 | Read Full Review of Life Class

The New York Times

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With her new novel, Pat Barker returns to the subject of World War I, focusing on three young art students in London whose lives and expectations are turned upside down by the war.

Feb 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Life Class

The Guardian

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Studying at the Slade and hanging out with bohemian types in the Café Royal is a world away from Paul Tarrant's upbringing in the industrial north.

Aug 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Life Class

The Guardian

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It is at war, though, that she finds herself on her surest footing: her descriptions of the injured and dying - a man whose eyeball swings from its socket on a bumpy ambulance ride, a suicidal deserter being nursed back to life only that he might be shot in punishment - are evidently closely rese...

Jul 14 2007 | Read Full Review of Life Class

NPR

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Alan Cheuse reviews British author Pat Barker's World War I novel Life Class, which reaches bookstores next week. It centers on lessons learned by a British art student who volunteers to drive an ambulance on the battlefields of Belgium.

Jan 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Life Class

Book Reporter

Although a gifted artist who, thanks to her gender, is able to continue to work while her male admirers are at the front, I don’t get a strong sense of her inner life.

Dec 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Life Class

Bookmarks Magazine

Life Class returns to some of the themes of Pat Barker’s award-winning Regeneration Trilogy—including the psychological damage of World War I.

Jan 31 2008 | Read Full Review of Life Class

Reader Rating for Life Class
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