The Noise of Time

The Noise of Time

Fiction & Poetry, Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Paperback Published on: 05/01/2017
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Bookseller Reviews

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The Noise of Time
Music & Communism: If words have been betrayed, is there still hope for music?
I was already a fan of Julian Barnes before I read this book. But I was familiar with his more overtly humourous titles - "Flaubert's Parrot" and "A Histor... READ MORE
Georgie Matthews at Windsor
The Noise of Time
A Barnes Newbie
So I've not read Julian Barnes before and am not into super-heavy literary types. I tried this one out as Book of the Month for January and while it's out ... READ MORE
Samantha at Waterstones Falkirk
The Noise of Time
Inner monologue of a tortured soul
Shostakovich, one of the most celebrated Russian composers, had the misfortune to live through one of the most difficult times in Russia’s turbulent histor... READ MORE
Claudia  Sunderhauf
The Noise of Time
Intelligent, thought-provoking fiction from one of our best
Julian Barnes has long been one of my favourite authors (since 'A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters', one of my favourite novels ever since I studied... READ MORE
Dave at Taunton
The Noise of Time
Chillingly evokes life under a suffocating regime
Part fiction and part biography, in this novella Julian Barnes creates a portrait of Dmitri Shostakovich, one of the greatest composers of the twentieth ... READ MORE
Laura McGloughlin
The Noise of Time
Tense and thoughtful
Barnes' writing style makes you hang on every word and this is a short book but packed with great lines and insightful thoughts. It is about art and power,... READ MORE
Katie Reid
The Noise of Time
A brilliant portrayal of Shostakovich.
How do you write a novel about a man who spent most of his life hiding behind versions of himself in order to survive? Julian Barnes’ version of Soviet... READ MORE
Simon At Newcastle


Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for January (2017) ALL HE KNEW was that this was the worst time He had been standing by the lift for three hours. He was on his fifth cigarette, and his mind was skittering. Faces, names, memories. Cut peat weighing down his hand. Fields of sunflowers. The smell of carnation oil… The faces and names of the dead, too. In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return. So begins Julian Barnes' first novel since his Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. A story about the collision of art and power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage, Justifiably described as Barnes’ masterpiece, The Noise of Time is part fictionalised biography and displays again Barnes’s seemingly effortless ability to make the personal universal and to do so with brevity, precision and conscience. Encountering the same man at three stages in his life, the power and impact of the individual takes on a larger significance, widened into a contemplation of personal responsibility and the limits of human endurance under the influence of power. It is a book in dialogue; with the past, with the legacy of totalitarianism and more directly with Frank Kermode’s 1967 work of the same name and with the book both works originate from, the original Noise of Time, memoirs that contain an account of a life of tragic genius, that of Dmitri Shostakovich. The Noise of Time is the work of a true master and a book that has lasting resonance for the age we find ourselves in and how we consider our own role within it. It’s an unusual author who can claim to have written a highly praised novel of literary merit partly narrated by a woodworm but Julian Barnes’s diverse output is anything but conventional. His novels range from his debut, the linear coming-of-age story Metroland, to more experimental novels including his breakthrough success Flaubert’s Parrot, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters, the three-person love triangle explored in Talking it Over and Love Etc. and more recent meditations on temporality: The Sense of an Ending (for which he won the 2011 Booker Prize) and The Noise of Time. Read about the temporal art of Julian Barnes's The Noise of Time on the Waterstones blog. His fabulous new novel, The Only Story, is out now.

  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781784703325
  • Number of pages: 192
  • Weight: 160g
  • Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 16 mm

Customer Reviews

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The Noise of Time
I inhaled this in one sitting. The writing is everything you'd expect from Julian Barnes - expressive and vivid but with masterly control. Not a word is wa... READ MORE
Liam at Liverpool One
The Noise of Time
Immerse yourself in this brilliant read!
If you love the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, George Orwell maybe even Hans Fallada then you will certainly appreciate this slim novel. You can place yo... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
The Noise of Time
Excellent read
My first Barnes and, well, I'm now on my fourth. The noise of time is probably the best book I've read this year. Simultaneously a work of great insight in... READ MORE
David Harris
The Noise of Time
An original work?
From both its title and content, this book shows every indication of having being largely culled from the Theatre de Complicite performance "The Sound Of N... READ MORE
Neil McGowan
The Noise of Time
Crushed by the man - an excellent repertoire of power
This is a story of power and its ability to tarnish even the most melodic of souls. Though set in communist Russia this concept transcends time to our curr... READ MORE
Karishma Patel
The Noise of Time
The Noise of Time
Beautifully written as you would expect. Fascinating observation of Shostakovich and his dilemmas in cold war Russia. A book which is 'faction' rather th... READ MORE
Lynden Easton
The Noise of Time
The best book I have ever read
Incredible writing, full of tension and oppression.
Catherine Davies