Rated of 5
I have always been interested in World War I and its impact on humanity. Having not yet gotten around to reading Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy, I was interested in reading Life Class, which has the same subject, WWI.
I wasn’t disappointed. In detailed style, Ms Barker accurately manages to illuminate the stark contrast between war and peace and their effect on relationships. The book focuses on Paul Tarrant, Elinor Brooke and Kit Neville: how they meet at the Slade art school in London before the war begins, how they individually react to the war, and how the war ultimately changes the lives of each and their relationships with each other.
Ms Barker’s text is incisive. Whether depicting human emotion or realistic battle scenarios, whether those depictions are in third person or through the personal correspondence between Elinor and Paul while he is serving in Belgium, she does not fail to deliver. I was enthralled throughout and could not wait to get back to the latest on Paul, Elinor and Kit each evening.
Life Class is timeless. Its occurrences and relationships could happen in any conflict, including those today in Afghanistan and Iraq. I highly recommend this book. It would do especially well for discussion in a book club.