Fiction

House of Names(web)House of Names

by Colm Toibin

Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, the murderess Clytemnestra tells of the deception of Agamemnon, how he sacrificed her eldest daughter – her beloved Iphigenia – to the Trojan campaign; how Clytemnestra used what power she had, seducing the prisoner Aegisthus, turning the government against its lord; plotting the many long years until her beacon fires announce the king’s return …
Electra, daughter of a murdered father, loyal subject of the rightful king, studies Clytemnestra and her lover with cold anger and slow-burning cunning. She watches as they walk the gardens and corridors of the palace. She waits for the traitors to become complacent, to believe they are finally safe; she waits for her exiled brother, Orestes, for the boy to become a warrior, for fate to follow him home. She watches and she waits, until her spies announce her brother’s return …

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $29.99

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Lost pages(web)The Lost Pages

by Marija Pericic

Winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award Winner.
It is 1908, and Max Brod is the rising star of Prague’s literary world. Everything he desires—fame, respect, love—is finally within his reach. But when a rival appears on the scene, Max discovers how quickly he can lose everything he has worked so hard to attain. He knows that the newcomer, Franz Kafka, has the power to eclipse him for good, and he must decide to what lengths he will go to hold onto his success. But there is more to Franz than meets the eye, and Max, too, has secrets that are darker than even he knows, secrets that may in the end destroy both of them. The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod’s life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Pericic writes vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.99

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Swimming lessons(web)Swimming Lessons

by Claire Fuller

Swimming Lessons tells the story of Ingrid Coleman who writes letters to her husband, Gil about the truth of their marriage, but decides not to send them. Instead she hides them within the thousands of books her husband collects. After she writes her final letter, Ingrid disappears from an English beach. Twelve years later, her adult daughter, Flora comes home after Gil says he has spotted Ingrid through a bookshop window. Flora, who has existed in a limbo of hope and grief, imagination and fact, wants answers, but doesn’t realise that what she’s looking for is hidden in the books that surround her. Claire Fuller’s book Our Endless Numbered Days won the 2015 Desmond Elliot Prize for literature.

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Best kind (web)The Best Kind of People

by Zoe Whittall

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable? George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt? With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.99

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German girl(web)The German Girl

by Armando Lucas Correa

Before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now the streets of Berlin are draped in swastikas and Hannah is no longer welcome in the places she once considered home. A glimmer of hope appears in the shape of the St Louis, a transatlantic liner that promises Jews safe passage to Cuba. The Rosenthals sell everything to fund visas and tickets. Seven decades later in New York, on her twelfth birthday Anna Rosen receives a package from Hannah, the great-aunt she never met but who raised her deceased father. Anna and her Mother travel to Cuba to meet Hannah and hear her story. Based on a true story, this wonderful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.

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Idaho(web)Idaho

by Emily Ruskovick

A stunning debut novel about love and forgiveness from O. Henry by Literary Prize winning author Emily Ruskovich.
Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband’s memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade’s first wife, Jenny, and to their daughters. The story is written in exquisite prose, told from multiple perspectives including those of Ann, Wade and his former wife Jenny. Gradually we learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny’s lives. The novel deals entirely with the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and with the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character in Idaho.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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underground(web)The Underground Railway

by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railway is the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
In Colson Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed the physical form of an underground rail system to transport slaves to freedom. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation. Caesar a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, and together they take the perilous decision to escape to the North. At each stop, Cora encounters a different world recreating the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a powerful meditation on history

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Salt Creek(web)Salt Creek

by Lucy Treloar

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route – among them a young artist, Charles – and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. Stanton’s attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri’s subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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Essex serpent(web)The Essex Serpent

by Sarah Perry

Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890’s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart. Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this charming novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.

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North Water(web)North Water

by Ian McGuire

Long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2016
A ship sets sail with a killer on-board . . . 1859. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the services, his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship’s surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself becoming a reluctant detective. Soon he will face an evil even greater than that he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: An the true purpose of the ship’s expedition becomes clear and despair descends upon the crew, the confrontation between Sumner and Drax will play out in the terrible darkness of the Arctic winter . . .

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $16.99

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Sense of an ending(web)Sense of an Ending

by Julian Barnes

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011. (Now a major film starring Academy Award nominees Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling)
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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birdmans-wife196x300The Birdman’s Wife (hardback)

by Melissa Ashley

Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the beauty of birds but her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was more than the woman behind the man. Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In The Birdman’s Wife, the naïve young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on an expedition to collect and illustrate Australia’s birdlife.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $32.99

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cousins196x300Cousins

by Salley Vickers

Brilliant and mercurial Will Tye suffers a life changing accident. The terrible event ripples through three generations of the complex and eccentric Tye family, bringing to light old tragedies and dangerous secrets. Each member of the family holds some clue to the chain of events which may have led to the accident and each holds themselves to blame. Most closely affected is Will’s cousin Cecelia, whose affinity with Will leaves her most vulnerable to his suffering. Told through the eyes of three women close to Will, his sister, his grandmother and his aunt, Cousins is a novel weaving darkness and light which takes us from the outbreak of WW2 to the present day.

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dark-flood-rises196x300The Dark Flood Rises

by Margaret Drabble

Francesca Stubbs holds our hand as we take a walk through old age and death. Fran brings us to drinks with her dear friends, dropping off mouth-watering suppers for Claude, her ex-husband, warm and cosy in his infirmity. She visits her daughter, Poppet, holed up as the waters rise in a sodden West Country, and texts her son Christopher in Lanzarote, as he deals with the estate of his shockingly deceased girlfriend. The questions of what constitutes a good death and how we understand it preoccupy this glittering novel. In her beautifully imagined new book, Margaret Drabble is at her incisive best, exploring the end of life with her trademark humour, composure and wisdom.

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old-scores196x300Old Scores

by David Whish-Wilson

It’s the early 1980s: the heady days of excess, dirty secrets and personal favours. Former detective Frank Swann is still in disgrace, working as a low-rent PI. But when he’s offered a security job by the premier’s fixer, it soon becomes clear that someone is bugging the premier’s phone – and it may cost Swann more than his job to find out why.

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days-without-end196x300Days Without End

by Sebastian Barry

Having signed up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America’s past. Days Without End is a novel that will remain with you.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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conclave196x300Conclave

by Robert Harris

The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

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judas194x300Judas

by Amos Oz

Shmuel, a young student, finds a mysterious handwritten note on a campus notice board. This takes him to a strange house where an elderly, invalid man requires a paid companion, to argue with and read to him. But there is someone else in the house too… a woman, who is trailed by ghosts from her past. Shmuel is captivated by her, and he is also drawn to the old man, an intellectual obsession which also evolves into gentle love and devotion. Shmuel begins to uncover the house’s tangled history and, in doing so, reaches an understanding that harks back to the beginning of Jerusalem itself.

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commonwealth194x300Commonwealth

by Ann Patchett

It is 1964: Bert Cousins, the deputy District Attorney, shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party. While the cops of Los Angeles drink, talk and dance into the June afternoon, he notices a beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host’s wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families whose shared fate will define them. In 1988, Franny Keating is working as a cocktail waitress in Chicago. When she meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen, and tells him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story. Franny never dreams that the consequences of this encounter will extend beyond her own life into those of her parents and siblings.

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sellout194x300The Sellout (Winner of 2016 Man Booker Prize)

by David Beatty

The black narrator of The Sellout is raised by his single father, a controversial sociologist. Led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, he discovers that, after his father is killed in a police shoot-out, there never was a memoir. In addition, the narrator’s hometown has been removed from the map to save California embarrassment due to its disrepair. In response, he reinstates slavery and segregates the local high school. What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life and the civil rights movement. A caustic satire on US racial politics.

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His Bloody Project book coverHis Bloody Project

by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet’s Booker Prize shortlisted second novel, is a tightly constructed historical page turner. Though entirely a work of fiction, it is presented as a collation of documents relating to a triple murder that took place in the Scottish Highlands in 1869. A young crofter, Roderick Macrae, brutally murdered 3 members of a neighbouring family, confessed immediately to the crime and was prosecuted. The novel includes Roderick’s own account of the event, case notes from visiting physicians, witness statements, and an account of the trial. As there is no doubt about Roderick’s guilt, the real focus is on his sanity at the time, and in this matter there is much disagreement. His Bloody Project is just that – bloody. It is also clever, at times funny, and often tragic.

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout book coverMy Name is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout

After a routine operation young New York mother of two Lucy Barton picks up an infection that sees her hospitalised  for weeks. One afternoon she turns to find her own mother sitting in a chair at the end of the bed. It is years since the two have seen each other and Lucy is overwhelmed with emotion. Her mother stays by her bedside for five days and the two women talk, in a restrained way, about the past. Lucy’s childhood in rural Illinois had been one of extreme poverty and occasional violence. Although she found a way out and eventually made a new life as a writer, Lucy knows she is a product of her past. Many years later she will reflect on those pivotal five days spent with her mother and the glimpse she had into the other woman’s life. Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with the wonderful Olive Kitteridge and in My Name Is Lucy Barton she has again produced a stunning portrait of motherhood, loneliness, strength and frailty. There aren’t many writers who combine such tough clear sightedness and gentle generosity, and Strought deserves her place on this year’s Booker Prize longlist.

FORMAT:  Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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Anything is Possible(web)Anything is Possible

by Elizabeth Strout

A novel in stories by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. Years ago, Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer, spent time in hospital, with her mother at the foot of her bed to keep her company. Avoiding the distance between them, they spoke at length about people from their home town, the rural, dusty town of Amgash, Illinois. Writing these stories, Lucy imagines the lives of the people that she especially remembers, and the people she has imagined that, in small ways, have remembered her too. For isn’t it true that we all hope to be remembered? Or to think in some way – even fleetingly – that we have been important to someone? This is a sequel to My Name is Lucy Barton, which should be read first.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $29.99

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Nutshell by Ian McEwan book coverNutshell

by Ian McEwan

Heavily pregnant Trudy has betrayed her poet husband John with his brother Claude. The pair have hatched a murderous plot to rid themselves of husband and brother, thus gaining a valuable London house as well as their freedom. There are several problems however. Firstly, Claude, apart from being monumentally boring, is also quite stupid. Trudy knows this, but cannot control her attraction to him. Secondly, there is a witness to everything they do – John and Trudy’s unborn child, who eavesdrops on his mother’s life from her womb and who narrates the Hamlet-like story, with revenge in mind. Part comedy, part tragedy, Nutshell manages to keep you guessing right to the last page.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $32.99 Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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The Dry by Jane Harper book coverThe Dry

by Jane Harper

Federal police officer Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funeral of his oldest friend Luke Hadler, whose body, along with those of his wife Karen and son Billy, has been found on his farm in the small rural community. It looks very much like a double murder suicide, presumably brought about by the extreme stress being experienced by farmers in the never ending drought. Twenty years earlier Ellie Deacon, a friend of both Falk and Luke’s, had drowned in the local river and the town had blamed Falk. He and his dad had fled Kiewarra for Melbourne and never returned. Now Luke’s parents want his help. They are not convinced their son did kill himself and his family, and it turns out the local cop might agree with them.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $16.99

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Bunting Quest (web)The Bunting Quest

by Steven Marcuson

A Claremont map dealer, Steven Marcuson, was fascinated by Bunting’s World Map. How could the west coast of Australia be depicted so accurately 25 years before the accepted date of European discovery? His research led to him to write a fictional thriller concerning the theft of the priceless map and a 400 year old religious mystery that results in people being prepared to kill to obtain the map.. The question is why?

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $26.95

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Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison book coverMusic and Freedom

by Zoe Morrison

What a wonderful debut novel this is. In Oxford in 2005 an elderly woman, Alice Murray, spends her days performing four tasks. She files away sheet music; she burns all her husband’s books and papers; she makes mysterious phone calls and she strikes notes on a Steinway. Alice is also slowly starving herself to death. And then she hears music, a piano being played. It sounds as though it is coming from next door, but she knows the house to be vacant. Whoever is playing the music is making mistakes and Alice can not stop herself from sounding out corrections on her own piano, thus beginning a musical conversation that will save her life.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx book coverBarkskins

by Annie Proulx

Late in the 17th century two Frenchmen, Charles Duquet and René Sel, travel to New France as indentured labourers. In exchange for three years work felling trees they are promised land of their own. Duquet does a bunk, becomes a fur trader and eventually founds a timber empire Duke & Sons. Sel remains, marries a native woman and lives a tough life. Annie Proulx’s new novel follows these two men and their descendants over the following three hundred years as the forests of North America suffer a decimation equaled by that of the native population. Large in scope and length, Barkskins is dramatic, grisly and utterly absorbing.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $24.99

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A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming book coverA Divided Spy

by Charles Cumming

Ex MI6 operative Thomas Kell blames Russian spy Alexander Minasian for the death of his lover Rachel. When an old colleague tells Tom that he’s spotted Minasian in a very compromising situation, he realises he may be in a position to extract revenge. Unfortunately a man dies before the trap Tom sets produces any results and he then hears about a possible terrorist attack about to be launched on British soil by ISIS. Unable to convince MI6 that the threat is real, Tom embarks on a solo mission to find the terrorist and prevent countless deaths.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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LaRose by Louise Erdrich book coverLaRose

by Louise Erdrich

While out walking his North Dakota property, Landreaux Iron spots a deer he has been keeping an eye on all summer. The animal, now nicely fattened up, is grazing on the border of his neighbour’s land. Landreaux has his gun with him and takes the shot, surprised when the buck runs off unharmed. When he gets closer however, he discovers he has killed his neighbour’s young son, Dusty. Drawing on their Ojibwe traditions, Landreaux and his wife Emmaline take their own young son, LaRose, and give him to their grieving neighbours. “Our son will be your son now” they say. Over the coming months and years the two families teeter on the edge, full of grief, guilt and anger. Young LaRose however, like his ancestors, is a gifted healer. Slowly but surely his presence takes effect.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith book coverThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos

by Dominic Smith

Ellie Shipley is curating an exhibition of paintings by female Dutch painters for the Art Gallery of New South Wales. When her boss excitedly informs her an American collector,  Marty de Groot, has offered the loan of At the Edge of a Wood by Sara de Vos for the exhibition, she has to inform the gallery that she has already secured the loan of this particular painting, but from a private collection in Amsterdam. Obviously one of the two is a fake, an embarrassing but not unique problem in the art world, and the gallery decides to ascertain which one is genuine before informing the owner. What is embarrassing for the gallery however, could spell professional disaster for Ellie, who decades previously in New York City forged a copy of At the Edge of the Wood herself, which she knows was substituted for the original belonging to Marty.  For years she has feared discovery and now she is convinced her secret is about to be revealed and public humiliation will follow. Alternating between the  seventeenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries, Dominic Smith tells the stories of the painter, the forger and the collector.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes book coverThe Noise of Time

by Julian Barnes

In his new novel Julian Barnes fictionalises the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and examines the nature of courage and cowardice. Divided into three parts The Noise of Time is structured around three episodes in Shostakovich’s life when he had direct contact with the regime ( his ‘conversations with Power’ as he called them). Unlike his fellow artists Stravinsky and Solzhenitsyn, Shostakovich stayed in Russia and compromised with the regime. Fully aware he was not strong enough to resist pressure of any kind, he spent his life bending to the whims of power in order to stay alive and keep composing. Is there a certain kind of courage in just surviving, even if that survival entailed all manner of unpleasant compromises?

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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