·Karen·'s Reviews > Life Class

Life Class by Pat Barker
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's review
Oct 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: brits
Read in September, 2009

In Pat Barker's latest novel she returns to the horror of WWI, the setting of her highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy.

The novel follows a trio of art students and their preoccupations with love and lust, which pale to insignificance as the momentum of war gathers pace. Paul and Kit both volunteer for Red Cross duty at the front, and process their experiences into their painting, whereas in contrast, Elinor joins the circle around Lady Ottoline Morrell, society hostess to pacifists, conscientious objectors and the Bloomsbury Group, and refuses to allow war any place in artistic endeavour. And the question of aesthetics is raised amongst the fictional artists: How much horror can or should be shown? Is horrific injury, gangrene, pain and suffering a suitable subject for art? Does that turn into propaganda?

Very satisfying mix of learning and the pleasures of a good read.
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