Monday, August 30, 2010

Pat Barker: Life Class

We've all read Pat Barker's amazing Regeneration Trilogy about World War I. She sort of set a benchmark of contemporary historical fiction. I barely remember the books, but I remember loving them. Which I'm sure is why I picked up "Life Class." But reading "Life Class," which follows three young art students through the beginning of World War I felt a little bit like reading one of Irving Stone's or James Michener's books- each is different, but they're all the same. Rather than following poets like in Regeneration, Life Class follows budding artists, struggling to reconcile pre-war England's frivolity with the grotesque reality of war. I really can't remember Regeneration, but I remembered it the whole way through this book. If you haven't read Barker, read the trilogy. If you have, skip this one.