The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
The much-loved author Julian Barnes is back with his first novel since The Sense of an Ending, which won him the Man Booker Prize for Fiction back in 2011.
From hunted man, in fear for his life to world-famous musician, we accompany the composer Dmitri Shostakovich from 1936 through to the 1960s. When his first production is panned and he is denounced in Stalinist Russia he becomes convinced that the government will come and take him away in the night, just like so many others. He’s so convinced he packs a bag and sleeps in the hall outside his apartment so as not to cause his wife and daughter concern.
A twist of fate saves his life but he never manages to fully escape the hold the government has over his ‘free speech.’
I am a huge fan of Sense of an Ending and have been eagerly awaiting this novel. I dove in, expected the warm hug of Barnes superbly crafted characters, even more so knowing this is the fictionalised account of the real-life composer. Instead, I’m sad to say, no matter how hard I tried, it was only the last handful of pages that I genuinely loved. The slow pace, multiple bit part characters and jumping timelines never allowed me to fully immerse myself and left me considering giving up halfway through as my mind drifted. I am glad I stuck with it for those few final pages but overall I was left wanting more.
Buy The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes