** The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

Artfully bouncing from one period to another, The Noise of Time tells the story of a Soviet composer whose life and work is shaped by politics. First, he is banned, brought in for questioning, threatened. Later, he is embraced by Khrushchev, rehabilitated, put at the head of official committees, chosen to represent the USSR in a visit to the US. The story underscores how both shunning and praise can be equally uncomfortable. The author does a great job of showing the little details of humiliation by totalitarian regimes. For the rest, the story seemed rather mundane to me.


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