The Noise of Time - Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes

The Noise of Time
2016, 180 pages

In this fictional biography of Dmitri Shostakovich, Julian Barnes describes the inner struggles of an artist during Stalin’s reign of terror and the compromises he was required to make under a totalitarian regime, to stay alive. The reader meets the Russian composer at three critical moments in his life, firstly as a young man standing by a lift expecting to be taken away by the powers that be. The next encounter is after the Second World War, on a propaganda tour in the USA. In the third part, the older Shostakovich has become embittered by the relentless demands of the party, even although Stalin is dead. Barnes succeeds in giving the reader remarkable insight into the composer’s relationships with family, wives and friends.

This beautifully crafted novel provides historical facts that are cleverly woven into a fictional story where historical figures and events come to life.