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The Noise of Time


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A compelling novel about art and power, courage and cowardice from the Booker-winning author of The Sense of An Ending

About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of thirteen novels, including The Sense of an Ending, which won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and Sunday Times bestsellers The Noise of Time and The Only Story. He has also written three books of short stories, four collections of essays and three books of non-fiction, including the Sunday Times number one bestseller Levels of Life and The Man in the Red Coat, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Duff Cooper Prize. In 2017 he was awarded the Legion d'honneur.


A great novel, Barnes's masterpiece... Exquisite, intimate detail. He has given us a novel that is powerfully affecting, a condensed masterpiece that traces the lifelong battle of one man's conscience, one man's art, with the insupportable exigencies of totalitarianism. -- Alex Preston * Observer *
Barnes's sombre, brilliant new novel opens with a scene like something from a story by Chekhov... Gleaming with intelligence and literary flair, this elegantly composed fictional meditation offers a fresh gloss on a musical genius's collisions and collusions with power. -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times *
[Barnes is] a master of the narrative sidestep... Not just a novel about music, but something more like a musical novel... The story itself is structured in three parts that come together like a broken chord. It is a simple but brilliant device, and one that goes right to the heart of this novel. -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst * The Times *
A compelling novel about art and power, courage and cowardice, and the capriciousness of fate...Barnes brilliantly captures the composer's conflicted state of mind...This book is only 190 pages long, but it packs an extraordinary emotional punch. -- Sebastian Shakespeare * Tatler *
The writing in the early pages is magnificent... The reader has the confidence of being in the hands of a master storyteller... Barnes has a good sense of what life was like in the Soviet Union. He captures well the black humor, irony and cynicism. -- Orlando Figes * New York Review of Books *
Julian Barnes' novel deftly evokes the complexity of Shostakovich's relationship with Stalin and the power of his oeuvre... Thick with period detail... The book returns us to the music itself, that immense 20th-century oeuvre that contains everything but confirms nothing. -- Hedley Twidle * Financial Times *
Gripping... An intimately illuminating montage of Shostakovich's life... Immediately engaging. -- James Lasdun * Guardian *
A novel of deceptive slenderness... You expect nothing less from a writer soaked in Flaubert. -- Duncan White * Daily Telegraph *
A series of elegant insights into the mind of a brilliant artist... Throughout, Barnes offers a surety of touch that few writers can match. * Independent on Sunday *
[A] sad, self-lacerating and darkly funny hybrid of a novel. The Noise of Time is both a burrowing meditation on an artist's lifelong relationship with totalitarian power, fear and compromise, and a fascinating fictional biography of one of the 20th century's greatest composers... Barnes is a master. -- Tod Wodicka * The National *
A profound meditation on power and the relationship of art and power... It presents a life, and refrains from judgment. It is a masterpiece of sympathetic understanding... I don't think [Barnes] has written a finer, more truthful or more profound book. -- Allan Massie * The Scotsman *
The skilled novelist here brings alive not just the political turmoil that surrounded Shostakovich, but his love for his wives, his love for his children, a vivid counterpoint of artistic freedom and political oppression - the eloquent conjuring of one glass of vodka clinking against another. * The Economist *

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