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The Noise of Time

by Julian Barnes

How do you live with constant fear? Can you stay true to yourself? How does it affect your art? These are some of the weighty questions in this short but punchy tale of Shostakovich's life. Pessimism and irony pervade it but music still manages to 'ring clear above the noise of time'.

Extract

One fear drives out another, as one nail drives out another. So, as the climbing plane seemed to hit solid ledges of air, he concentrated on the local, immediate fear: of immolation, disintegration, instant oblivion. Fear normally drives out all other emotions as well; but not shame. Fear and shame swilled happily together in his stomach.

Parallels

The Portrait of Galileo by Nikolay Gogol
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
Pu-239 and Other Stories by Ken Kalfus
 

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