Author(s): 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.
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 This is the first time the author of the Regeneration Trilogy has written about the Second World War and it's a triumph Stylist Many strokes of genius from Barker... accessible and moving Sunday Times Noonday's Blitz-era setting gives Barker ample opportunity to do what she does best Spectator Powerful and vivid, with nuanced characters and Barker's unerring eye for detail Women and Home 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 Ambitious, vivid, sharp... The closer you get to the end, the more lives need saving and the more thwarted and complicated the domestic backdrop... Barker's chronological leap is a sophisticated bridge between the drama of the present and the haunted history of the past Daily Telegraph Colourfully alive, fizzes with energy... the novel's point of view swivel[s] like a torchbeam to illuminate London's devastated streets Independent The book has its own inherent power thanks to Barker's skilful rendering of the texture of the period but it is richer and more rewarding if read with the other two volumes of this beautifully crafted trilogy Daily Express
Pat Barker was born in 1943. She is the author of Union Street, Blow your House Down, The Century's Daughter, The Man Who Wasn't There, the Regeneration Trilogy (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road), Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision, and the Life Class Trilogy (Life Class, Toby's Room and Noonday). Pat Barker lives in Durham.