Noonday A novel

Pat Barker, 1943-

Book - 2016

"A new novel from the Booker Prize winning Pat Barker, author of the Regeneration Trilogy, that unforgettably portrays London during the Blitz (her first portrayal of World War II) and reconfirms her place in the very top rank of British novelists. 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 hu...sband Paul Tarrant works as an air-raide 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 reach out for quick consolation. And into their midst comes the spirit medium Bertha Mason, grotesque and unforgettable, whose ability to make contact with the deceased finds vastly increased demands as death rains down from the skies. Old loves and obsessions resurface 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"--

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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
War stories
Published
New York : Doubleday [2016]
Edition
First United States edition
Language
English
Physical Description
307 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780385537728
0385537727
Main Author
Pat Barker, 1943- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Booker Prize–winner Barker has enjoyed critical and popular acclaim for her trio of novels about Great Britain in WWI, the so-called the Regeneration trilogy of Regeneration (1991), The Eye in the Door (1994), and The Ghost Road (1995). Barker's new novel completes a second trilogy begun with Life Class (2007) and continued with Toby's Room (2012), which dramatizes the lives of three friends from art school in London, from the last year of WWI to the early years of WWII, when the British capital suffered under the blitz of German bombs. The ability to conjure a national crisis exploding into a series of personal disasters, which so notably marked Barker's previous trilogy, is on full display here. But the weakness of plot many readers found in this trilogy's first two volumes, especially when compared to the tight, sturdy plots in the Regeneration novels, diminishes this final volume as well. But expect demand just the same, as the admiration for Barker transcends any recent lack of electricity. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Booker Prize winner Barker's celebrated "Regeneration Trilogy" boldly took on World War I, as did her recent novels Life Class and Toby's Room, about Elinor Brooke, Kit Neville, and Paul Tarrant, students at the Slade School of Art when war intervenes. This work wraps up their story, moving on to World War II as the Blitz burns up London's nights. [Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Barker concludes a trilogy that began with three students at the Slade School of Fine Art in the run-up to World War I (Life Class), in this third volume, which takes the former classmates to London during the Blitz in 1940. Elinor Brooke and Paul Tarrant are now married and middle-aged. Paul is an air raid warden, and Elinor drives an ambulance. The third classmate, their mutual friend Kit Neville, arrives from America, where he has left behind his wife and daughter, and goes to work for the Ministry of Information as a German translator. Despite all the death and destruction around them, all three still try to advance their painting careers. Elinor even receives a commission from Kenneth Clark of the War Artists Advisory Committee. But an indiscretion on Paul's part causes a rift in his marriage to Elinor, one that Kit, who says he has always loved her, sets out to exploit. And forever hanging over the story is the ghostly presence of Elinor's brother, Toby, killed in action during WWI. Unfortunately, Barker's depiction of how Londoners bravely put up with Hitler's nightly bombing raids feels flat and familiar. The narrative meanders among several new characters—Kenny, a lost boy of the Blitz, and Bertha Mason, a medium—to limited effect, before finishing up in a flurry of melodramatic plot developments. In the end, this is a disappointing third act to a series that lacks the impact of Barker's superior Regeneration trilogy. (Mar.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A new novel from the Booker Prize winning Pat Barker, author of the Regeneration Trilogy, that unforgettably portrays London during the Blitz (her first portrayal of World War II) and reconfirms her place in the very top rank of British novelists. 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 Tarrant works as an air-raide 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 reach out for quick consolation. And into their midst comes the spirit medium Bertha Mason, grotesque and unforgettable, whose ability to make contact with the deceased finds vastly increased demands as death rains down from the skies. Old loves and obsessions resurface 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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Ambulance driver Elinor Brooke races through Blitz-torn London to save lives while reflecting on how the war has shattered the dreams and bonds of her generation, a situation that leads to confrontations with a profit-mongering spirit medium and an impossible choice.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An ambulance driver races through Blitz-torn London to save lives while reflecting on how the war has shattered the dreams and bonds of her generation, a situation that leads to confrontations with a profit-mongering spirit medium and an impossible choice. By the Booker Prize-winning author of The Regeneration Trilogy.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A new novel from the Booker Prize winning Pat Barker, author of the Regeneration Trilogy, that unforgettably portrays London during the Blitz (her first portrayal of World War II) and reconfirms her place in the very top rank of British novelists.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 Tarrant works as an air-raide 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 reach out for quick consolation. And into their midst comes the spirit medium Bertha Mason, grotesque and unforgettable, whose ability to make contact with the deceased finds vastly increased demands as death rains down from the skies. Old loves and obsessions resurface 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.