Noonday by Pat Barker
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