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The Noise of Time Hardcover – 28 Jan 2016

4.0 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; 01 edition (28 Jan. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1910702609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910702604
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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 ChekhovGleaming 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 magnificentThe 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)

"This is a slim novel about the big things: art, fear, Power…history’s farcical, tragic repetitions. It is also quite excellent." (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)

"Julian Barnes takes an Orwellian turn for his first novel since winning the 2011 Man Booker Prize." (Irish Examiner)

"The Noise of Time looks to enthral us with its tale of compromise, cowardice and courage in Stalinist Russia." (World Travel Guide)

Book Description

Art and Power collide in Julian Barnes’s first novel since the Booker-winning The Sense of An Ending

A Daily Telegraph / Financial Times / Guardian / Sunday Times / The Times / New Statesman / Observer Book of the Year

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Normally I look forward to a new novel by Barnes but I couldn't even be bothered to finish this one. The character never came to life, the themes were shallow and any narrative absent. Many people seem to have loved it and given it 5 stars. I am truly bewildered at why but for me this novel doesn't do justice to Barnes' characteristic brilliance.
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This fictionalised account of the price paid by Shostakovich for being Soviet Russia's most acclaimed composer--and arguably its finest creative artist--is both accessible and thought provoking. Barnes would not claim to have anything new to say about Shostakovich's predicament but he communicates it very well. It is a short book which I found welcome- far too many books written today outstay their welcome.
Readers looking for a novel about how ordinary Russians coped with the daily experience of living under Stalin's tyranny should read Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal, which I thought wonderful.
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This engagingly immediate novella by one of our intellectual giants has (of course) writing that pings with bell-like clarity. Barnes justifies fictionalising Shostakovich's life in part because he fictionalised it himself through multi-layered response and non-response to the intrusions of Power. For example, while the soubriquet 'A Soviet artist's creative reply to just criticism' was actually written by a journalist after the Fifth was premiered, Dmitri never challenged assumptions that he had written it onto the manuscript. At a time of unprecedented suspicion of expertise and increasing constraints on the independence of academics and professionals, the book offers considerable food for thought.
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First and foremost, this is a beautifully written book. Julian Barnes has a rare gift and, in turning it towards three pivotal times in the life of Shostakovich, provides a work that is both incredibly entertaining and informative. I have read numerous books on the life and work of Shostakovich, and this one is very near the top for the quality of writing - a great read!
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Savage review of Russian communism and the awful effect one one innocent man, who just wanted to write and play music! Not an easy or pleasant read but ultimately deeply satisfying and informative! Read it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Difficult first couple of chapters when he refers back to stuff you don't yet know about but well worth persevering with.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting account of the composer's life. His struggle with the communist system and his personal problems are told and explained in psychological detail. Gives a new understanding of his music.
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Depressing,tiresome and boring. Would not recommend it to anyone. Sorry.
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