An atmospheric, touching and compassionate story based in London during the Second World War, where living on the edge and in the moment occurred on a daily basis. We seem to view Elinor and Paul from a distance, the writing initially skates over their feelings, creating a boundary and a sense of remoteness. When Bertha enters the tale there is an immediate burst of character, colour and emotion, effectively highlighting the other relationships. Pat Barker writes with an eloquently simple, stark style that somehow conveys the significance and consequences of the London Blitz, with even more power and emotion. The London of bombs, fire, craters, rubble, plaster dust, fear and exhaustion is an achingly moving and thought provoking place. This is the third in a trilogy, however I read Noonday as a stand-alone novel and didn’t feel as though I was missing out on what had gone before, though there are enough back references and tantalising hints to encourage me to go back to the beginning just as soon as I can, and I don't think having already read‘Noonday will spoil that experience. Able to delve into the most intimate, hidden places of a relationship, yet simultaneously display the wider aspect of the London Blitz during 1940, this is a commanding and memorable read.
In Noonday, Pat Barker - the Man Booker-winning author of the definitive WWI trilogy, Regeneration - turns for the first time to WWII. 'Afterwards, it was the horses she remembered, galloping towards them out of the orange-streaked darkness, their manes and tails on fire...' London, the Blitz, autumn 1940. As the bombs fall on the blacked-out city, ambulance driver Elinor Brooke races from bomb sites to hospitals trying to save the lives of injured survivors, working alongside former friend Kit Neville, while her husband Paul works as an air-raid warden. Once fellow students at the Slade School of Fine Art, before the First World War destroyed the hopes of their generation, they now find themselves caught in another war, this time at home. As the bombing intensifies, the constant risk of death makes all three of them reach out for quick consolation. Old loves and obsessions re-surface until Elinor is brought face to face with an almost impossible choice. Completing the story of Elinor Brooke, Paul Tarrant and Kit Neville, begun with Life Class and continued with Toby's Room, Noonday is both a stand-alone novel and the climax of a trilogy. Writing about the Second World War for the first time, Pat Barker brings the besieged and haunted city of London into electrifying life in her most powerful novel since the Regeneration trilogy. Bold, hard-hitting, unforgettable...a virtuoso rendition of the bombing, as huge swathes of London blaze away with the brightest of bright lights...Barker shows us how the city's finest moment was indubitably also its most terrifying, with luminous and unsparing insight. (Independent on Sunday). Barker's command of detail and gift for metaphor are as sharp as ever...As a tribute to those who dared and suffered on the home front, Noonday is in the first rank. (Antony Garner, Mail on Sunday). Narrative jumps colourfully alive, fizzes with energy . (Michele Roberts, Independent). Tremendously good. (Daily Mail). Pat Barker's Noonday marked the end of another war trilogy which shows no end to her talent in describing how conflicts rupture the soul. (Arifa Akbar, Independent). Praise for Pat Barker: She is not only a fine chronicler of war but of human nature. (Independent). A brilliant stylist...Barker delves unflinchingly into the enduring mysteries of human motivation. (Sunday Telegraph). You go to her for plain truths, a driving storyline and a clear eye, steadily facing the history of our world. (The Guardian). Other titles in the trilogy: Life, Class, Toby's Room.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
'Barker's command of detail and gift for metaphor are as sharp as ever: her evocation of the bombed city is steeped in drama... Noonday is in the first rank' Mail on Sunday
'Tremendously good' Daily Mail
Publication date: 07/04/2016
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 27/08/2015
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
|Publication date:||7th April 2016|
|Publisher:||Penguin Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Pat Barker was born in 1943. Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy, comprising Regeneration (1991); which was made into a film of the same name; The Eye in the Door (1993), which won the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road (1995), which won the Booker Prize, as well as the more recent novels Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision, Life Class and Toby’s Room. She lives in Durham.More About Pat Barker