The Noise of Time

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

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.

So begins Julian Barnes's first novel since his Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending. A story about the collision of Art and Power, about human compromise, human cowardice and human courage, it is the work of a true master.



NOTE: When possible, editions are linked to entries in the online Julian Barnes Bibliography. These entries feature multiple images of the book and additional bibliographic details.
English Language Editions

The Noise of Time. London: Jonathan Cape, 2016.

The Noise of Time, London Review Bookshop Limited Edition[Limited Edition]. London: London Review Bookshop, 2016. Limited, signed edition of 100 copies, 75 in quarter-bound Harmatan Yellow 30 goatskin leather with Atlantic Cloth sides, and contain one facsimile page from the author’s working notebook. Twenty-five copies, numbered i to xxv, are fully bound in the same leather and contain a portfolio of six facsimile pages of early draft passages and notebook entries.

The Noise of Time. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.

The Noise of Time. Toronto: Random House Canada, 2016.

The Noise of Time. Vintage, 2017.

Audiobook Edition
Translated Editions

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Chinese -

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Dutch -

French -

Georgian -

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Lithuanian -

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Angela Merkel on The Noise of Time

"I’ve read a book on Shostakovich, by Julian Barnes, also in connection with a performance of "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk", which I attended a while ago in Salzburg. The book wasn’t particularly long, so I immersed myself in it for two days. [...]

"What appealed to me most about this book was that it allowed you to get to know the environment in which Shostakovich’s music was created. It also harked back to a conflict I frequently encountered myself when I was young. Shostakovich lived through different phases of the Soviet Union’s cultural policy and was faced with that question “how honest, how open are you?”. His work had been banned, he wasn’t allowed to have it shown anywhere, he was deprived of his means of expression, effectively. For these very reasons, I myself had decided pretty early on to become a physicist, because the GDR couldn’t possibly mess with physics. But as a musician, as a composer, your music might get classed as un-cultural ("unkulturell") and be ostracized. People like this not only couldn’t express themselves freely, but they also had to fear for their lives. Questions like how honest can I afford to be, how strong am I, when do I give in, what am I ready to compromise on, those are questions Shostakovich was faced with a lot. And reading about a life like that made me realize once again what a blessing it is to live in a free country."

- Excerpt from "Handelsblatt – Deutschland Live" interview


01/16/16 - The Book Show RTE Radio 1 with Sinead Gleeson, 16 January 2016.

01/22/16 - "Lunch with the FT: Julian Barnes" [Interview with Caroline Daniel]. Financial Times, 22 January 2016.

01/28/16 - "Interview: Julian Barnes in conversation with his long-term designer Suzanne Dean." Vintage Podcast.

01/29/16 - "Julian Barnes on his new book, no platforming and more." BBC Newsnight, 29 January 2016 [7:39 minutes].

06/05/2016 - Zheng, Haiyao. [Interview with Julian Barnes.] The Paper [Julian Barnes's first interview for a Chinese publication.]


01/15/2016 - Rentzenbrink, Cathy. "Julian Barnes: Interview." The Bookseller, 15 January 2016.

01/16/16 - Duncan White. "The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, review: 'black humour'." The Telegraph, 16 January 2016.

01/17/16 - Alex Preston. "Julian Barnes’s Masterpiece." The Guardian, 17 January 2016.

01/22/16 - James Lasdun. "How Shostakovich Survived Stalin." The Guardian, 22 January 2016.

05/09/2016 - Denk, Jeremy. "'The Noise of Time' by Julian Barnes." The New York Times, 9 May 2016.

05/10/2016 - McAlpin, Heller. "'The Noise Of Time' Can't Drown Out Shostakovich." NPR.com, May 10, 2016.

05/15/2016 - Magras, Michael. "'The Noise of Time': Julian Barnes imagines how Shostakovich made great music under Stalin's tyranny." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 May 2016.

05/15/2016 - Finucan, Stephen. "On Shostakovich, Stalin and what it takes to be a hero."

The Star, 15 May 2016.

05/20/2016 - Alexis, André. "Julian Barnes’s The Noise of Time is a thoughtful, humane and compassionate novel." The Globe & Mail, 20 May 2016.

05/25/16 - Julian Barnes discusses Leicester City and his new novel The Noise of Time with Charlie Rose.

05/26/2016 - Zelman, Tom. "Review: 'The Noise of Time,' by Julian Barnes." Star Tribune, 26 May 2016.

05/26/2016 - Saval, Nikil. "Julian Barnes and the Shostakovich Wars." The New Yorker, 26 May 2016.

06/03/2016 - Torné,Gonzalo. "Julian Barnes. Retrato del artista occidental." Ahora, 3 June 2016.

06/03/2016 - Adams, James. "In new novel, Julian Barnes tests the noise of time through art and biography." The Globe & Mail, 3 June 2016. [Profile/Interview].

06/05/2016 - Zheng, Haiyao. [Interview with Julian Barnes.] Shanghai Review of Books and The Paper [Julian Barnes's first interview for a Chinese publication.]

06/05/2016 - Wachtel, Eleanor. "Julian Barnes about love, loss and Dmitri Shostakovich." Writers & Company (CBC). [Audio Interview].

06/10/16 - Zohn, Patricia. "CultureZohn Off the C(H)uff: Julian Barnes and The Noise of Time." Huffington Post. [Includes interview quotes and numerous photos.]

07/03/16 - Julian Barnes discusses The Noise of Time on To the Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio (Audio Available at www.ttbook.org/book/julian-barnes-noise-time).