1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Worth reading for the pictures not the plot,
This review is from: Life Class (Paperback)
Can another novel be written about the First World War? Could Pat Barker write another one? Twelve years on from her Regeneration trilogy (conveniently republished and advertised on the back of the new novel), Pat Barker returned to her theme.
This time, it is worth reading for the pictures. It is the kind of novel that could be written ninety years after the event - describing two or three people whose response to Armageddon is to paint - because what we have left now is the pictures. They also drive ambulances, nurse the unnursable wounded, simply bear witness. Pat Barker is drawing too. The plot seems lightweight. We are not even sure we like the characters. But is simply enough to bear dramatic cinematography, shot after shot, a film script in waiting. It is a series of intense, closely shot short moments of emotion, colour, wounded human beings, the shelling of Ypres, London cafes, basement flats, gangrene, Vorticism, attacks on Anglo- Germans, the inside of a trench ambulance. The connection between suffering and painting was a real one too - and the characters here were taught by Tonks - the surgeon who became an artist who became a pioneering plastic surgeon.