Pamela Norris

Bearing Witness

Life Class

By

Hamish Hamilton 256pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Pat Barker’s new novel begins in the life class at the Slade School of Art in London, where a young artist, Paul Tarrant, is struggling to draw a naked female model to the exacting standards of Henry Tonks, a teacher obsessed by anatomy. It is spring 1914, a few months before the outbreak of the First World War. By the end of the novel, Paul will have become closely acquainted with the bones, nerves and arteries that, as Tonks insists his students remember, animate the smooth surface of the skin.

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