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Noonday by Pat Barker
  

Noonday

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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. ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Pat Barker you might also like to read books by Toni Morrison, Nick Arvin and Ben Elton.

Reader Reviews

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.

  • Lynne Rapson - 'This book is another triumph from Pat Barker [...]. An extremely well-written book which is highly recommended.'
  • Sharon Wood - 'Descriptions of people, conversations and incidents are excellent and the story flows speedily along. This book has definitely made me want to read the other books in the trilogy and to seek out some of her others.'
  • Linda Benner - 'A gripping book which explores war and relationships. I loved it. So nice to catch up with the characters from the previous two books.'
  • Jane Brown - 'Pat Barker has done it again, now it is World War 2.  An abosolute must-read that will fly to the top shelf on publication.'
  • Cathy Petersen - 'A beautifully written and perceptive study of grief and stress in time of war, but it  didn’t quite hit the mark for me.'
  • Dawn Vanstone - 'An excellent story of war ravaged London.  Three people  entwined in each others lives trying to carry on as best they can. Lots of unexpected twists and turns, you won't want to put it down!'
  • Peter Baiden - 'I fully recommend "Noonday" for everyone who wants to enter into a different perspective on a dark period of Britain's recent history.'
  • Helen Lowry - 'A story of passions and temptations, old and new, and life during the Blitz. A very good read and I enjoyed it more than I expected, which I always think is a good sign.'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'As a stand alone novel, the beauty in her writing and the bleak realities of wartime London make a worthwhile read.'
  • Oliver Keating - 'Such is the fear of lives cut short they live day to day. Lust and passion are snatched moments between bombing raids.'
  • Neil Williams - 'An atmospheric wartime tale following three artists and their time in London's blitz...The buildings could be crumbling around you they are so well described. A great story.'

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Synopsis

Noonday by Pat Barker

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.

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

About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th April 2016

Author

Pat Barker

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Publisher

Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
272 pages

Categories

Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780241966037

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