Reviews

  • "A great novel, Barnes’s masterpiece… Exquisite, intimate detail. He has given us a novel that is powerfully affecting, a condensed masterpiece that traces the lifelong battle of one man’s conscience, one man’s art, with the insupportable exigencies of totalitarianism."

    Alex Preston, Observer
  • "Barnes’s sombre, brilliant new novel opens with a scene like something from a story by ChekhovGleaming with intelligence and literary flair, this elegantly composed fictional meditation offers a fresh gloss on a musical genius’s collisions and collusions with power."

    Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
  • "[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 compelling novel about art and power, courage and cowardice, and the capriciousness of fate…Barnes brilliantly captures the composer’s conflicted state of mind…This book is only 190 pages long, but it packs an extraordinary emotional punch."

    Sebastian Shakespeare, Tatler
  • "The writing in the early pages is magnificentThe reader has the confidence of being in the hands of a master storyteller… Barnes has a good sense of what life was like in the Soviet Union. He captures well the black humor, irony and cynicism."

    Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books
  • "Julian Barnes’ novel deftly evokes the complexity of Shostakovich’s relationship with Stalin and the power of his oeuvre… Thick with period detail… The book returns us to the music itself, that immense 20th-century oeuvre that contains everything but confirms nothing."

    Hedley Twidle, Financial Times
  • "Gripping… An intimately illuminating montage of Shostakovich’s life… Immediately engaging."

    James Lasdun, Guardian
  • "A novel of deceptive slenderness... You expect nothing less from a writer soaked in Flaubert."

    Duncan White, Daily Telegraph
  • "A series of elegant insights into the mind of a brilliant artist… Throughout, Barnes offers a surety of touch that few writers can match."

    Independent on Sunday
  • "[A] sad, self-lacerating and darkly funny hybrid of a novel. The Noise of Time is both a burrowing meditation on an artist’s lifelong relationship with totalitarian power, fear and compromise, and a fascinating fictional biography of one of the 20th century’s greatest composers… Barnes is a master."

    Tod Wodicka, The National