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The Noise of Time

The Noise of Time

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 110194725X
Pages: 224
Year: 2016-05-10
A compact masterpiece dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich: Julian Barnes’s first novel since his best-selling, Man Booker Prize–winning The Sense of an Ending. In 1936, Shostakovich, just thirty, fears for his livelihood and his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has taken a sudden interest in his work and denounced his latest opera. Now, certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, executed on the spot), Shostakovich reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, various women and wives, his children—and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, for decades to come he will be held fast under the thumb of despotism: made to represent Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York City, forced into joining the Party and compelled, constantly, to weigh appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music. Barnes elegantly guides us through the trajectory of Shostakovich’s career, at the same time illuminating the tumultuous evolution of the Soviet Union. The result is both a stunning portrait of a relentlessly fascinating man and a brilliant exploration of the meaning of art and its place in society. From the Hardcover edition.
The Noise of Time

The Noise of Time

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Random House Canada
ISBN: 0345816595
Pages: 192
Year: 2016-05-10
A masterful novel dedicated to the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, from the bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending. The book begins in 1936, with Dmitri Shostakovich petrified at the age of thirty and fearing for his livelihood and even his life. His opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District has just been denounced in Pravda in an article that certainly reflects the opinion of Joseph Stalin himself. Every night he waits on the landing outside his apartment, expecting NKVD agents to come and whisk him away. Shostakovich reflects on not only his predicament but also his own personal history, his parents and his various women and wives and his children, and all who are still alive themselves hang in the balance of his fate. When the interrogation he fears does eventually arrive, a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming a casualty of the Great Terror that claims so many of his friends and contemporaries--"chips that had flown while the wood was being chopped." Still, the spectre of the government hovers over him for several further decades, forcing him to constantly weigh the merits of appeasing those in power against the integrity of his music. Barnes elegantly guides us through subsequent stages of Shostakovich's life, from being ground into the dirt under the thumb of despotism to being made to serve as a figurehead of Soviet values at a cultural conference in New York, and finally being forced into joining the Party. The trajectory of his career illuminates the evolution of the Soviet Union, with Nikita Khrushchev assuming its leadership, this providing no great joy to Shostakovich. The Noise of Time is both a heartbreaking account of a relentlessly fascinating man's experience and a brilliant meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society.
The Noise of Time

The Noise of Time

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 1473524822
Pages: 192
Year: 2016-01-28
'BARNES'S MASTERPIECE' - OBSERVER 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. ‘Stunning’ Sunday Times ‘A profound meditation on power and the relationship of art and power... It is a masterpiece of sympathetic understanding... I don’t think Barnes has written a finer, more truthful or more profound book’ Scotsman ‘A tour de force by a master novelist at the top of his game’ Daily Express
The Only Story

The Only Story

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0525521291
Pages: 272
Year: 2018-04-17
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending, a novel about a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman who has long been there, a love story shot through with sheer beauty, profound sadness, and deep truth. Most of us have only one story to tell. I don't mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there's only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine. One summer in the sixties, in a staid suburb south of London, Paul comes home from university, aged nineteen, and is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. In the mixed-doubles tournament he's partnered with Susan Macleod, a fine player who's forty-eight, confident, ironic, and married, with two nearly adult daughters. She is also a warm companion, their bond immediate. And they soon, inevitably, are lovers. Clinging to each other as though their lives depend on it, they then set up house in London to escape his parents and the abusive Mr. Mcleod. Decades later, Paul looks back at how they fell in love, how he freed Susan from a sterile marriage, and how--gradually, relentlessly--everything fell apart, and he found himself struggling to understand the intricacy and depth of the human heart. It's a piercing account of helpless devotion, and of how memory can confound us and fail us and surprise us (sometimes all at once), of how, as Paul puts it, "first love fixes a life forever."
The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307957330
Pages: 176
Year: 2011-10-05
Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse. This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world. A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.
Levels of Life

Levels of Life

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0385350783
Pages: 144
Year: 2013-09-24
Julian Barnes, author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel The Sense of an Ending, gives us his most powerfully moving book yet, beginning in the nineteenth century and leading seamlessly into an entirely personal account of loss—making Levels of Life an immediate classic on the subject of grief. Levels of Life is a book about ballooning, photography, love and loss; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded Barnes the 2011 Booker Prize described him as “an unparalleled magus of the heart.” This book confirms that opinion. “Spare and beautiful...a book of rare intimacy and honesty about love and grief. To read it is a privilege. To have written it is astonishing.” —Ruth Scurr, The Times of London “A remarkable narrative that is as raw in its emotion as it is characteristically elegant in its execution.” —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times This ebook edition includes a reading group guide.
Metroland

Metroland

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307797775
Pages: 176
Year: 2011-06-15
Only the author of Flaubert's Parrot could give us a novel that is at once a note-perfect rendition of the angsts and attitudes of English adolescence, a giddy comedy of sexual awakening in the 1960s, and a portrait of the accommodations that some of us call "growing up" and others "selling out." From the Trade Paperback edition.
Keeping an Eye Open

Keeping an Eye Open

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 1101874791
Pages: 288
Year: 2015-10-06
An extraordinary collection—hawk-eyed and understanding—from the Man Booker Prize–winning, best-selling author of The Sense of an Ending and Levels of Life. As Julian Barnes notes: “Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation. Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting . . . But it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.” This is the exact dynamic that informs his new book. In his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, Barnes had a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, and since then he has written about many great masters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, including Delacroix, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Lucian Freud and Howard Hodgkin. The seventeen essays gathered here help trace the arc from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism; they are adroit, insightful and, above all, a true pleasure to read. From the Hardcover edition.
Nothing to be Frightened Of

Nothing to be Frightened Of

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307368440
Pages: 256
Year: 2010-05-28
"I don’t believe in God, but I miss him." So begins Julian Barnes’s brilliant new book that is, among many things, a family memoir, an exchange with his brother (a philosopher), a meditation on mortality and the fear of death, a celebration of art, an argument with and about God, and a homage to the writer Jules Renard. Barnes also draws poignant portraits of the last days of his parents, recalled with great detail, affection and exasperation. Other examples he takes up include writers, "most of them dead and quite a few of them French," as well as some composers, for good measure. The grace with which Barnes weaves together all of these threads makes the experience of reading the book nothing less than exhilarating. Although he cautions us that "this is not my autobiography," the book nonetheless reveals much about Barnes the man and the novelist: how he thinks and how he writes and how he lives. At once deadly serious and dazzlingly playful, Nothing to Be Frightened Of is a wise, funny and constantly surprising tour of the human condition. From the Hardcover edition.
England, England

England, England

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 030736755X
Pages: 288
Year: 2012-12-18
Grotesque visionary Sir Jack Pitman has an idea. Since most people are too lazy to travel from landmark to landmark, why not simplify things and create a new England on the Isle of Wight? Unfortunately, his idea is a huge success, and the resulting theme park threatens to supersede the original. Called England, England, it has all the elements of "Old England" in one convenient location. Wander into the new Sherwood Forest and you may spot Robin Hood and his now sexually ambiguous Merrie Men. Or take a stroll to see Stonehenge and Anne Hathaway's Cottage, enjoy a ploughman's lunch atop the White Cliffs of Dover, then pop over to see the Royals, now on contract to Sir Jack, in their scaled-down version of Buckingham Palace. Every detail has been considered: even the postcards come pre-stamped! Julian Barnes' first novel in six years is a ferociously funny examination of the search for authenticity and truth in a fabricated world. From the Hardcover edition.
Love, Etc

Love, Etc

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307368432
Pages: 240
Year: 2010-07-23
In Love, etc. Julian Barnes has created a deep, dark feast of human frailties and needs. Love, etc. stars three characters introduced a decade ago in Talking It Over — to which this novel has an eerie, freestanding relation. Which is precisely what Stuart felt about his wife Gillian, until his witty, feckless, former best friend Oliver stole her away. Fabulously engaging and profoundly unsettling. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Arthur and George

Arthur and George

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Books
ISBN: 1400097037
Pages: 445
Year: 2007-01
Chronicles the lives of two boys--the son of a Midlands vicar and the creator of the world's most famous detective--as they pursue separate destinies until meeting and forming a remarkable alliance.
Before She Met Me

Before She Met Me

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307797783
Pages: 192
Year: 2011-06-15
At the start of this fiendishly comic and suspenseful novel, a mild-mannered English academic chuckles as he watches his wife commit adultery. The action takes place before she met him. But lines between film and reality, past and present become terrifyingly blurred in this sad and funny tour de force from the author of Flaubert's Parrot. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Staring at the Sun

Staring at the Sun

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307797791
Pages: 208
Year: 2011-06-15
Jean Serjeant, the heroine of Julian Barnes's wonderfully provocative novel, seems ordinary, but has an extraordinary disdain for wisdom. And as Barnes follows her from her childhood in the 1920s to her flight into the sun in the year 2021, he confronts readers with the fruits of her relentless curiosity: pilgrimages to China and the Grand Canyon; a catalog of 1940s sexual euphemisms; and a glimpse of technology in the twenty-first century (when The Absolute Truth can be universally accessed).
Shostakovich and Stalin

Shostakovich and Stalin

Author: Solomon Volkov
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307427722
Pages: 336
Year: 2007-12-18
“Music illuminates a person and provides him with his last hope; even Stalin, a butcher, knew that.” So said the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, whose first compositions in the 1920s identified him as an avant-garde wunderkind. But that same singularity became a liability a decade later under the totalitarian rule of Stalin, with his unpredictable grounds for the persecution of artists. Solomon Volkov—who cowrote Shostakovich’s controversial 1979 memoir, Testimony—describes how this lethal uncertainty affected the composer’s life and work. Volkov, an authority on Soviet Russian culture, shows us the “holy fool” in Shostakovich: the truth speaker who dared to challenge the supreme powers. We see how Shostakovich struggled to remain faithful to himself in his music and how Stalin fueled that struggle: one minute banning his work, the next encouraging it. We see how some of Shostakovich’s contemporaries—Mandelstam, Bulgakov, and Pasternak among them—fell victim to Stalin’s manipulations and how Shostakovich barely avoided the same fate. And we see the psychological price he paid for what some perceived as self-serving aloofness and others saw as rightfully defended individuality. This is a revelatory account of the relationship between one of the twentieth century’s greatest composers and one of its most infamous tyrants. From the Hardcover edition.