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The tortured genius of Shostakovich

Julian Barnes’s latest novel, The Noise of Time, is a brilliant portrait of an artist trying not to sign away his soul

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

The Noise of Time Julian Barnes

Cape, pp.183, £14.99, ISBN: 9781910702604

When I look at the black-and-white photograph of Julian Barnes on the flap of his latest book, the voice of Kenneth Clark floats up from memories of the black-and-white television of my childhood: ‘He is smiling — the smile of reason.’ Supremely ‘civilised’, thin-lipped, faintly superior, temperamentally given to aphorism, it is no surprise to discover that Julian Barnes is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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