HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Life Class (2007)

by Pat Barker

Other authors: Russell Boulter (Narrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Brooke Family (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0325220,041 (3.5)135
In the spring of 1914, a group of young students gather in an art studio for a life-drawing class. Paul Tarrant and Elinor Brooke are two components of a love triangle, and at the outset of the war, they turn to each other. After volunteering for the Red Cross, Paul must confront the fact that life, love, and art will never be the same for him. Pat Barker is unrivaled in her ability to convey simple, moving human truths. Her skill in relaying the harrowing experience of modern warfare is matched by the depth of insight she brings to the experience of love and the morality of art in a time of war. Life Class is one of her genuine masterpieces.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 135 mentions

English (49)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The whole world belonged to them because they were on their way to die.

In the spring of 1914, Paul struggles at Slade, the London art school, especially in life class. Coming from a northern working class background, he feels removed from the other students. But Elinor, one of the few women students welcomes him into her group of friends, which include Kit, a successful artist, and Teresa, one of the life models. All of their lives are turned upside down when war is declared and Kit and Paul sign on as ambulance drivers, Teresa disappears and Elinor stubbornly continues with her art.

This is the first book in a trilogy and, as such, I should almost wait until I've read the other two to say anything. Here, the most interesting character disappeared partway through and was never heard from again. I'm hoping she reappears because Teresa, scrappy Teresa with the troubled, dangerous husband and a determination to life her life, is far more interesting than Elinor, the upper class golden girl who attracts all the men. Still, this is a fascinating novel, describing everything from art school to how wounds were treated on and off the battleground (a lot of detail here, so be prepared). Barker's research may be exhaustive, but she deploys it in such a natural way. Looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Jun 22, 2021 |
My reading for ANZAC this year.
Paul Tarrant enters the Slade School of Art in London in 1914 to pursue a degree in painting. He struggles to feel that he is developing and comments by his Life Class tutor only re-enforce this. He is attracted to a fellow student Elinor Brooke and impressed by her talent and passion for her work. She introduces him to a friend who models for the life class and embarks on an affair. It ends badly as she has a separated husband prone to violence. Elinor also introduces him to Kit Neville, who has completed his degree and is now working successfully as an artist.
At the outbreak of war the two men volunteer for the medical corps. They are stationed in Ypres and experience working on the front line.
The author successfully evokes life during this period. i was so taken with the characters, I immediately started on the sequel. ( )
  HelenBaker | Apr 27, 2020 |
A view into the estrangement caused by war, not only for those face to face with it but also for those at home. ( )
  snash | Jan 13, 2020 |
More than two decades ago I read the Regeneration Trilogy of novels by Pat Barker. They were all very good, in fact the final novel, The Ghost Road, won the Man-Booker Prize. They were set during the time of the Great War and most readers associate Barker with this war. She returns to it with Life Class, after more than a decade during which she published novels, including Another World, on more contemporary subjects.

Life Class is divided into two sections, the first of which opens with a scene in a life drawing class at the famous Slade School of Art in London. Readers are introduced to Paul Tarrant, a young student who apparently has some talent but is not progressing with his art at the rate that he or his teacher, the stern and overbearing Henry Tonks, would like. Paul has a friendship with, as well as some romantic interest in, his fellow student Elinor Brooke, who is also being wooed by recent Slade graduate and rising artistic star Kit Neville. The three, along with others from London’s art scene, frequent the Café Royal, where Paul meets and becomes involved with Teresa Halliday, an artists’ model whose physical charms and sexual frankness captivate him, despite his haunting sense that she is hiding something and despite the fact that her estranged husband stalks and threatens the lovers.

Near the end of the book’s first half, Paul, Kit, and Elinor are visiting her family’s country home when the news comes that war has finally broken out. Immediately discussions ensue as to how deeply and how soon England will become involved, who will enlist, and what all of this will mean to the future. The two parts of the novel, then, hinge neatly on the moment when World War I begins, the moment when Europe and the world are forever changed.

The second part is set primarily in Belgium where Paul has become a hospital orderly near the front. The story is told through letters between Elinor and Paul interspersed with sections of authorial narrative. The war is presented in quite revealing detail as Paul deals with the maimed and the dying in hospital. At the same time he rekindles his art by maintaining an atelier in a nearby village. This section is vivid and suspenseful with dramatic changes in Paul's life, his friendships with hospital comrades and the ultimate effects of the daily grind of the war.

Barker's fine writing style carries the first part while the dramatic developments in the second part take precedence. The combination makes this a worthwhile successor to her first trilogy and a great introduction to another one. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 13, 2019 |
artist @ time of WWI — reality of war life changes
1914 — grp of Artists — Bloomsbury Group

The students at the Slade School of Art gather in Henry Tonks's studio for his life-drawing class. But for Paul Tarrant the class is troubling, underscoring his own uncertainty about making a mark on the world. When war breaks out and the army won't take Paul, he enlists in the Belgian Red Cross just as he and fellow student Elinor Brooke admit their feelings for one another. Amidst the devastation in Ypres, Paul comes to see the world anew - but have his experiences changed him completely?
  christinejoseph | Jun 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This is a lusty tale, and Barker is careful not to let historical research derail momentum. The narrative buoyancy is also due to Barker’s sense of sight, fitting for a story about the painter’s gaze: light is “lemony”; eyes are “the colour of infected phlegm”; sunbathing men are “starfish shapes.”
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barker, Patprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boulter, RussellNarratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bew, KieranNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
den Bekker, JosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prague, JulietNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, FinlayNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webster, EveNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Belongs to Publisher Series

Is contained in

Has the (non-series) sequel

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
For David
First words
They'd been drawing for over half and hour.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

In the spring of 1914, a group of young students gather in an art studio for a life-drawing class. Paul Tarrant and Elinor Brooke are two components of a love triangle, and at the outset of the war, they turn to each other. After volunteering for the Red Cross, Paul must confront the fact that life, love, and art will never be the same for him. Pat Barker is unrivaled in her ability to convey simple, moving human truths. Her skill in relaying the harrowing experience of modern warfare is matched by the depth of insight she brings to the experience of love and the morality of art in a time of war. Life Class is one of her genuine masterpieces.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
It is the spring of 1914 and a group of students at the Slade School of Art have gathered for a life-drawing class. Paul Tarrant is intrigued by fellow student Elinor Brooke. But when it becomes clear that painter Kit Neville is also attracted to her, Paul withdraws into a reckless affair with an artist's model. Then, as war commences, Paul and Elinor each reach a crisis in their relationships, and they turn to each other. Working for the Belgian Red Cross, Paul tends to the mutilated, dying soldiers from the front line. But when he returns, Paul faces the overwhelming challenge of how to express all that he has experienced, and the fact that life and love will never be the same again.
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.5)
0.5
1 2
1.5
2 20
2.5 6
3 76
3.5 35
4 90
4.5 12
5 14

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 205,893,972 books! | Top bar: Always visible