Listen free for 30 days

Life Class

Series: Life Class, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
4 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Pat Barker's powerful and unforgettable story of art and war, Life Class.

Spring, 1914. 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?

©2014 Pat Barker (P)2014 Penguin Books Limited

Critic reviews

"Triumphant, shattering, inspiring." ( The Times)
"Barker writes as brilliantly as ever…with great tenderness and insight she conveys a wartime world turned upside down." ( Independent on Sunday)
"Extraordinarily powerful." ( Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Is war experience justifiable as art?

Pat Barker s heroine refuses on principle to find war a justifiable subject for art, even after being caught up in a raid at Ypres. Her arguments are contrasted with the more conventional story line covered by the male characters. The portrayal of society in the build up to the first World War is much more nuanced than in most novels of the period and the details of the role of an orderly or ambulance driver in Belgium are vivid. The role of the artist in these circumstances makes a useful basis for the exploration of the nature of friendship and love.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Warning - takes time to get into the rhythmn

I discarded this book when I tried to read it - but this audible version made me view the characters and the pace in a different way. (Is that good or bad - I am not sure). Having not found any common ground/compassion/interest with the characters when I read this - I seem to have done so with the audible version. I think this maybe because this is read at an incredibly slow pace (not the pace I would read) - and that's how it works. I don't know but I have enjoyed the audible version enough I will go on to the next part in the story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

can’t say I’m impressed

Now, let me say there’s not a lot wrong with the story. it’s a literary novel, everything and nothing much happens. It’s about people not about plot. Ellena is just about the most selfish, nasty-minded,, manipulative prig I ever read about this year but, she’s a peson and that’s what she’s like. She and Kit certainly do deserve one another and, despite not being judgemental or at least, not admitting it she is for all that. Nothing interests either of them except themselves and their puny interests. The book could have been better written, phrases repeated that could have been more varied. There’s plenty of introspection so it’s nota bad story but the characters are very dislikable.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dark-Intense-Painfully Tender

My Interest was Heightened from The Start, By The Setting, alongside The Descriptions of Characters and Their Varying Lifestyles as They Struggle to Hold on to Their Art, as The Heat of War Rises to Consume Them All! Even though The Book is Stark and Uncompromising, The Principals are Brought Out, Beautifully, on to The Page. I Did Feel The Ending was Rather Abrupt.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Life Class

Reading by several actors added depth to performance.

A fictionalised account of the wartime experiences of young artists with encounters with some historical figures.

I will have to catch other parts of the trilogy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life Class

This is the first Pat Barker audio book I've listened to and it was a fine production and well read - great story too - I have the next two in print but might just listen to them instead.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Quite slow

Quite slow, different from her other novels. Not such likeable character's than in the regeneration trilogy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pat Barker writing as good as ever

first in second world war trilogy. characters brought vividly to life. well narrated. compelling story. highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful