Life Class

Narrated by: Russell Boulter
Series: Life Class, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
3.7 out of 5 stars (67 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2008 Pat Barker (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

Critic Reviews

"Calls to mind such early moderns as Hemingway and Fitzgerald....some of the most powerful anti-war literature in modern English fiction." (The Boston Globe)
"Pat Barker understands the dynamics of psychic trauma and shutdown as well as any living writer." (Esquire)

What listeners say about Life Class

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

In Love and War

Like Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, Life Class is set during World War I. The first half involves the blithe lives of a group of young art students, including Paul and Elinor, whose friendship develops into something more. As the war wages on, Paul attempts to sign up; when he is rejected, he volunteers as an ambulance driver. The novel encomppases some of the horrors of war familliar to Barker readers/listeners, but the intent here seems to be to show how the experience of war changes people and their relationships. A fine listen.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I rarely put down a book. I put this one down.

What disappointed you about Life Class?

The characters were one-dimensional and unlikable. I did not enjoy my time in their company.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Annoyance.

Any additional comments?

The writing was actually good - it was the characters I couldn't stand. I'm sure some people love this book; I am just not one of them.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

disappointing

This really was a letdown after The Regeneration Trilogy. The story is not particularly compelling and, try as I could, I simply found it hard to care much about the characters.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

World War I

Barker writes interesting character studies of the British during World War I. This one is good, but her Regeneration Trilogy is even better.

1 person found this helpful