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The Noise of Time: A novel by [Barnes, Julian]
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The Noise of Time: A novel Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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Length: 225 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


Longlisted for the 2017 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
Longlisted for the 2017 Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award



“Magnificent . . . . Novels about artistic achievement rarely do justice to their subjects. . . . The Noise of Time is that rarity. It is a novel of tremendous grace and power, giving voice to the complex and troubled man whose music outlasted the state that sought to silence him.” —Anthony Marra, Publishers Weekly

“A great novel, Barnes's masterpiece—the particular and intimate details of the life under consideration beget questions of universal significance; the operation of power upon art, the limits of courage and endurance, the sometimes intolerable demands of personal integrity and conscience. This novel, like [The Sense of an Ending], gives us the breath of a whole life within the pages of a slim book.” —Alex Preston, The Guardian

The Noise of Time tells the story of Dmitri Shostakovich, the Russian composer both feted and condemned by the Soviet state during his lifetime; but it does so not in aridly 'truthful' fashion, but in full, delighted knowledge of how little use facts are in determining the essence of human experience, let alone its intersection with history and politics. . . . [A] complex meditation on the power, limitations and likely endurance of art.” —Alex Clark, Observer

“Barnes brilliantly captures the composer’s conflicted state of mind, which culminates in the chilling realization that ‘death was preferable to endless terror.’ . . . Packs an extraordinary emotional punch.” —Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler

“[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 novel of deceptive slenderness. . . . Barnes has reinvented himself once again.” —Duncan White, Daily Telegraph

“The meticulous research done by the author unmasks the pervading despair and gloom, and transports the reader to the dark days. . . . [A] wonderfully-crafted book.” —Deccan Herald 

“Like [Barnes’s] Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending (2011), The Noise of Time is another brilliant thought-provoker. . . . [E]legantly structured. . . . [The Noise of Time] is filled with many . . . penetrating, quotable lines. . . . [A] stirring novel.” —NPR

“[The Noise of Time] is beautifully written. There is a wonderful rhythm to the prose—long passages are broken up by staccato bursts of single sentences—and Mr. Barnes writes with a crystalline clarity.” —Christopher Carroll, The Wall Street Journal
“Barnes does wonderful work on the key scenes. . . . [The Noise of Time is] a powerful portrait.” —Jeremy Denk, The New York Times Book Review
“Julian Barnes’s latest novel opens with a scene of crystalline virtuosity. . . . In the reading, [Barnes’s] stylistic shift feels like a feat of magic. . . . In his impressionistic portrait of Shostakovich, the man and the artist, Barnes balances sympathy with a tough-minded clarity, the more potent for being presented via the composer’s own point of view.” —The Miami Herald
“[The Noise of Time is] deeply engaging. . . . [A] cannily episodic story. . . . The tension between revolutionary discipline and artistic freedom might sound like a familiar theme, yet I can’t recall any other recent book which offers such a prismatic perspective on the matter. . . . Barnes’s [narrative is] timely and arresting. . . . If Barnes’s moving, Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending, which similarly charted the course of a life in less than two hundred pages, was a book of the heart, [The Noise of Time] is very much of the head. But it is a brilliant head, which leads us to places only a handful of novelists have the skill and the courage to go.” —The Boston Globe

“[The Noise of Time is] outstanding. . . . There is a wonderful musicality to this compact and powerful novel. . . . [Barnes’s] Shostakovich is a man of great moral complexity who, trapped between passion and politics, finds himself servant to both.” —Stephen Finucan, Toronto Star 

“[B]arnes’s writing is elegant, his curiosity boundless, and his intellect formidable. . . . His clean, undecorated prose invites our trust. He doesn’t leave distracting footprints on the page because he cares more for his subject than for himself, more for clarity than crafty prose that asks to be admired for its craftiness. He lets his subject speak, leaving his readers with a sense of immediacy and discovery.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“The Noise of Time is a harrowing, swift novel.” —Literary Hub

“I’ve never seen a book that gets into the mind of an artist as persuasively as The Noise of Time. . . . [The Noise of Time] expands the reach of biography. . . . The pleasures of [The Noise of Time]—including listening along with the subject’s career—are great, and the themes—life under tyranny and Shostakovich’s agony of cowardice—are profound. . . . The ultimate brilliance of Barnes’s work is that it shows us, through Shostakovich’s mind, how a person begins in his later years to see his life as an expression of key themes.” —Citizen-Times 

About the Author

JULIAN BARNES is the author of twenty previous books, for which he received the Man Booker Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature, and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in France, the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina; in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature; and in 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. The author lives in London.

Product details

  • File Size: 2768 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1101971185
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 10, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2016
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B015VACH40
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,277 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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