The Noise of Time
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The Noise of Time


A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich: Julian Barnes’s first novel since his best-selling, Man Booker Prize–winning The Sense of an Ending.

In 1936, Shostakovitch, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, executed on the spot), Shostakovitch reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children—and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for decades to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music.

Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovitch's career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant exploration of the meaning of art and its place in society.

Title:The Noise of Time
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:180 pages

    The Noise of Time Reviews

  • Marita
    Dec 22, 2015

    “Art belongs to everybody and nobody. Art belongs to all time and no time. Art belongs to those who create it and those who savour it. Art no more belongs to the People and the Party than it once be...

  • Kalliope
    Jan 24, 2017

    Here I am listening to Shostakovich First Piano Concerto and wondering about Julian Barnes latest novel (?) biography (?). Throughout my reading I was asking myself why had he written this book. I kno...

  • Susan
    Nov 12, 2015

    This latest work by Julian Barnes looks at the life of the composer Shostakovich. Rather than give us a straightforward, fictional biography, the author takes three key points in his life. He begins i...

  • Michael
    Jul 21, 2016

    A quiet book of the tough moral choices of a famous composer who has to survive in the controlling atmosphere of the Soviet system over the decades. This channeling of the life of Shostakovich takes a...

  • Maciek
    Feb 14, 2016

    Move over, Martin Amis! It's time for another episode of English author does Russia - after a fictional love affair in the Gulag as described in House of Meetings , this time it is Julian Barnes who s...

  • Darwin8u
    Jun 07, 2016

    "A soul could be destroyed in one of three ways: by what others did to you; by what others made you do to yourself; and by what you voluntarily did to yourself. Any single method was sufficient; thoug...

  • Ian
    Dec 08, 2016

    The Noise of OpinionTwo other novels came to mind as I read this 184 page work:* William T Vollmann’s “Europe Central”; and* John Banville’s “The Untouchable”. I recall a comment by a m...

  • Bam
    Mar 25, 2016

    Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was a Russian pianist and composer of the Soviet period and was regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. In this elegant piece of work, Julian Barnes...

  • Cheryl
    Oct 12, 2015

    I love what Julian Barnes can do with the facts. When the Russian composer Shostakovich was denounced in 1936, at the beginning of Stalin’s Great Terror period, he knew he was likely to be “purged...

  • Margitte
    Jan 24, 2017

    On the LandingIt had all begun, very precisely, he told his mind, on the morning of the 28th of January 1936, at Arkhangelsk railway station. No, his mind responded, nothing begins just like that, o...