Nominated by:

Tartu Public Library, Estonia

Tampere City Library, Finland

Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, Italy

Cleveland Public Library, USA

Liverpool City Libraries, UK

Publisher of nominated edition:

Jonathan Cape, UK

Alfred A. Knopf, USA

The Noise of Time

Julian Barnes    

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.

About the author

Julian Barnes is the author of twelve novels, including The Sense of an Ending, which won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He has also written three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; four collections of essays; and two books of non-fiction, Nothing to be Frightened Of and the Sunday Times Number One bestseller Levels of Life. He lives in London.

(from publisher)

Librarians’ comments

A gripping and engaging novel of Shostakovich’s life.

We chose The Noise of Time for its depiction of the destiny of a composer in a totalitarian society as if the author had been living there himself – all its absurdity, grotesqueness and the limited choices of an artist.

An insightful account on the life of the composer Shostakovich and his trials and adversities in the Soviet Russia which grows into a masterful treatise on art, freedom, deceptive appearances and the human predicament in general. Despite its brevity, The Noise of Time is a loudly resonating, weighty tome.

An historical novel on the life of composer Shostakovich and the battle with his conscience during the Stalin regime. An intense fictional account of life in the USSR in the 1930s through the eyes of an artist.

An enthralling book crammed with ideas and information, all captured in a compelling fragmented narrative that captures the history, inner turmoil, and geopolitics of the time. Most of all, Barnes captures the character of Shostakovich, the events of his life perfectly chosen to describe a curious kind of hero – anxious, not-quite-cynical but close, who ought to be a coward, but isn’t.

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