Julian Barnes is a literary author. I’ve read a handful of his books over the years, going right back to when I was at school. So when I saw The Noise of Time in Waterstones, I thought I would give it a go. The blurb certainly sounded interesting.
But then I realised that I read Julian Barnes books so rarely that I can’t actually remember whether I like them or not…
The Noise of Time is a tiny little book – just 180 pages, yet it took me forever to read it, because it was really heavy going. What I didn’t realise until I’d finished reading it, was that it is based on the true life story of composer, Dmitri Shostakovich, who I had assumed was a fictional character.
Shostakovich was a Russian composer during Stalin’s time. The book talks about government corruption and the many times Shostakovich feels his life is at risk. At one time, he waits by the lift of his apartment block all night, every night. He feels it would be better for his family if he was ready to be taken away, than if they had to witness it happening at home.
It is an interesting read on power and corruption, but it was just a bit heavy for me. I don’t like very light books, but I do like my books to be page turners and not to require too much thinking. The book has got some very good reviews, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
If you are interested in history, power and corruption, The Noise of Time would be well worth a read. But if you just want some escapism from your reading, I wouldn’t recommend it!