The Noise of Time (Paperback)

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Barnes employs the famous modernist Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich as his protagonist in his new novel. In stunning, crisp, methodical prose, The Noise of Time is divided into three sections, each focusing on a defining moment in Shostakovich's life--the first in 1936 after he finds himself denounced by Stalin, and the final in the 1960s, as he reflects on the relative time of peace in Russia and his appointment to the Chairmanship of the Russian Federation Union of Composers. Barnes charts Shostakovich's turbulent career, falling in and out of favor with Stalin, forced to balance the whims of a dictator while staying true to his art. A disquieting, beautiful, atmospheric novel, this powerful book will have you pondering the role of art and artist long after you've put it down.

— Erin


One of the Best Books of the Year: San Francisco Chronicle

1936: Dmitri Shostakovich, just thirty years old, reckons with the first of three conversations with power that will irrevocably shape his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has suddenly denounced the young composer's latest opera. Certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, shot dead on the spot), Shostakovich reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, his daughter--all of those hanging in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, he will twice more be swept up by the forces of despotism: coerced into praising the Soviet state at a cultural conference in New York in 1948, and finally bullied into joining the Party in 1960. All the while, he is compelled to constantly weigh the specter of power against the integrity of his music. An extraordinary portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man, The Noise of Time is a stunning meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society.

About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of twenty previous books. He has 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 Medicis and the Prix Femina; and in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature. 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 forty languages. He lives in London.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781101971185
ISBN-10: 1101971185
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 224
Language: English
Series: Vintage International