Again, Barker writes masterfully about WW I. One theme is the extent to which one should depict the terrors of war; another is Elinor's refusal to engage war and to focus on painting what one loves rather that what is being destroyed. The novel depicts the impact of war on the emotional lives of its characters.
*** 1/2 stars. In this novel, Pat Barker returns to her most renowned subject: the devastation and psychic damage wrought by WWI on all levels of British society. In the spring of 1914, a group of young students gather in an art studio for a life-drawing class. A group of students at the Slade School of Art have gathered for a life-drawing class. Paul Tarrant is easily distracted by an intriguing fellow student, Elinor Brooke, but Kit Neville - himself not long out of the Slade but already a well-known painter - makes it clear that he, too, is attracted to Elinor. Paul's new life as a volunteer for the Belgian Red Cross is a world away from his days at the Slade. He must confront the fact that life, and love, will never be the same again. Ms. Barker has the marvelous ability to recreate the style of the great British authors of the early 20th century. If you did not know that the book is a work of new fiction, you would swear the author endured the pain of WWI herself. Recommend
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