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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.
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
'Barker is a writer of crispness and clarity and an unflinching seeker of the germ of what it means to be human." The Herald
Praise for Toby's Room:
'Heart-rending, superb, forensically observant and stylistically sublime' Independent
'Magnificent; I finished it eagerly, wanting to know what happened next, and as I read, I was enjoying, marvelling and learning' Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
'Dark, painful, yet also tender. It succeeds brilliantly' New York Times
'The plot unfurls to a devastating conclusion . . . a very fine piece of work' Melvyn Bragg, New Statesman
Other titles in the trilogy:
Powerful and vivid, with nuanced characters and Barker's unerring eye for detail* Women and Home *
Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire and began her literary career in her forties, when she took a short writing course taught by Angela Carter. Encouraged by Carter to continue writing and exploring the lives of working class women, she sent her fiction out to publishers. Thirty-five years later, she has published sixteen novels, including her masterful Regeneration Trilogy, been made a CBE for services to literature, and won awards including the Guardian Fiction Prize and the UK's highest literary honour, the Booker Prize.
Her last novel, The Silence of the Girls, began the story of Briseis, the forgotten woman at the heart of one of the most famous war stories ever told. It was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Gordon Burn Prize, and won an Independent Bookshop Award 2019. The Women of Troy continues that story. Pat Barker lives in Durham.