Best Books of 2012: Blog 2 of 12

As ever, the year has been one of delightful discoveries and occasional disappointments. My reading included a couple of books from the dim and distant past as well as several hot off the press. In alphabetical order of authors, I am posting the details every day over twelve days. Click on the blog title and leave a comment below, or tell me about your best reads of the year. Here’s my second book.

Toby’s Room by Pat Barker, Book Prize winning author of The “Regeneration” trilogy – but please try to read her Life Class first which is, more or less, its prequel. The characteristic Barker traits of close observation of human behaviour, perfectly chosen language, and total immersion research allow her to take up again the lives of the young artists studying at the Slade before the Great War under the real-life Henry Tonks, a surgeon and artist whose drawing of the appalling facial disfigurement of many war-wounded soldiers are both a work of record and an artistic achievement. The three fictional characters can, if one wishes, be read as composite pictures of a number of real artists who are fused together in a way that art lovers will enjoy. Barker leads the reader through the self-discovery of each character to a final resolution in a very satisfying way. Verdict: 7.5 out of 10

Look out for the third book tomorrow. Happy reading!

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