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Come and chat to PAT BARKER, about her stellar writing career, her award-winning trilogies and her latest novel, NOONDAY, our April Book of the Month, on Weds 27 April, 9-10pm

(78 Posts)
TillyMumsnetBookClub Mon 14-Mar-16 11:39:14

Pat Barker is one of Britain's most respected and best-loved novelists. Her epic trilogy about the First World War began with the astonishingly powerful Regeneration, followed by The Eye in the Door (winner of the Guardian Prize) and The Ghost Road (winner of the Booker Prize). As definitive, detailed and deeply felt as that series, her new trilogy is equally classic. Following a group of artists who meet at the Slade during WW1, Noonday is the final part of the story (though easily also a stand-alone novel) that began with Life Class and Toby's Room. Struggling in the thick of the Blitz, Elinor is unable to paint, out all night driving ambulances while her husband Paul is dragging bodies out of rubble. Their friend Kit Neville is trapped in a paper-pushing job at the Ministry of Information, frustrated that Paul’s artistic reputation has overtaken his own, and aware of his long-buried feelings for Elinor. As the blackout darkness befuddles and confuses, and as their exhaustion warps and distorts perception, their relationships become blurred. The book is vividly atmospheric, immersed in a traumatised London and the effects of the sustained attacks. It is her expert psychological insight, however, those fleeting moments of fear or connection or compassion, that make Barker a truly outstanding novelist.

You can find out more on our book of the month page, plus get an insight into Pat Barker's own relationship to London, her childhood and kickstarting her writing career in this fascinating interview with Alex Clark in the Guardian.

Penguin have 50 copies of Noonday to give to Mumsnetters: to claim your copy please fill in your details on the book of the month page. We’ll post on the thread when all the copies have gone. If you’re not lucky enough to bag one of those, you can always get a Kindle edition or paperback copy here

*We are honoured, thrilled and delighted that Pat will be joining us to answer your questions about Noonday, all her previous award-winning novels and her fascinating career on
Wednesday 27 April, 9-10pm. Please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month and then come and meet Pat on the night, and ask her a question or simply tell her what you think of her books. It’ll be a particularly special chat, very much hope you can make it…*

AnnaAsh Mon 14-Mar-16 19:39:30

Hi, is this where we apply for a free copy? I can't seem to use the link from the book club newsletter!

gailforce1 Mon 14-Mar-16 21:37:57

The link in the book club e mail for a free copy does not work

noscat Tue 15-Mar-16 09:19:42

Another message to say the link doesn't work - I love Pat Barker and have read all of her books. Wonderful!

SorchaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 15-Mar-16 10:51:27

Sorry about that! Thanks for letting us know. The link should now be working!

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 23-Mar-16 18:52:51

The giveaway is now closed and those who have been allocated books will be notified by the end of the day. If you haven't been selected, do buy a copy of Noonday (paperback is out on 7 April). Or if you have time read this brilliant trilogy: Life Class and Toby's Room ahead of the webchat which has now been confirmed for 27 April between 9 and 10pm.

weathermum Thu 31-Mar-16 09:59:06

many thanks for sending me this book I really look forward to reading it when I have finished the one I am now looks so interesting and about a period in time that I find captivating.... I will come back again with more thoughts after reading it.

SnapCackleFlop Fri 08-Apr-16 18:29:07

I read this book as a stand alone and enjoyed it very much. I felt it was unusual that some seemingly important plot threads seemed to be left unexplored but my first thought was perhaps it was intended to be like life.... things not ending up as one might expect / important things turning out otherwise. Upon reflection I realise it's more likely to be because the book is the last of a trilogy and I didn't read the first two blush

The book was solid, thought-provoking, harrowing, shocking, surprising and well written. I found it interesting that some of the most harrowing and upsetting aspects of the plot weren't the obvious ones. (Kenny encountering the severed head for example).

The characters felt complex and complicated and I felt in turns one the side of one and later be horrified by them (Kit particularly springs to mind).

It gave an interesting insight into the mundane realities of war and made me think how indeed people would grow weary of spending time in squalid conditions, that I would probably be one of the ones sometimes choosing the 'safety' of my own bed.

The author weaved the horror of war with the quotidian every day, universal struggles.

IreadthereforeIam Mon 11-Apr-16 10:38:30

I thoroughly enjoyed Noonday. It gave me an excellent excuse (as if I needed one!) to read the first two novels in the trilogy, which really set the scene for this last instalment. The progression of the characters as they grew older really interested me: how they developed, yet stayed the same (as we all pretty much do as we age). I kept trying to dislike Neville much like Paul and Elinor seem to, but found I couldn't - he was a true survivor. Reading the first two novels really enforced this idea. They are all three hugely affected by both wars, and this last novel continues to portray the damage that war has on everyone: physically, emotionally and intellectually.
I'm a fast reader, especially if I'm enjoying the book, but I found myself trying really hard to make this last longer. I'm a little sad it's over now, to be honest. I'm a Goodreads user, and I found many reviewers on there who didn't like this book. I don't know whether they'd read it as a stand alone (it says you can), but I feel that you understand the characters far better if you read it as a trilogy. I'll be keeping this trilogy on my bookshelf to read again at some point, and I'll be recommending it to my 'bookish' friends! Thank you for choosing me as one of the lucky recipients of this novel - it's one of the best books I've read so far his year.

Givemecoffeeplease Wed 13-Apr-16 20:38:44

Loved this trilogy. Had not read any PB before and am now going to head for the Regeneration trilogy.

Elinor - what a great character, with the light and dark of Paul and Neville either side. Such bleakness in the war scenes (true to life) and yet, like the patches of sunlight that falls through the gaps where buildings once stood, there is always hope. Kenny! YESSSSSS!

Just loved this.

weathermum Fri 15-Apr-16 11:03:56

I was so looking forward to reading this book but sadly it didn't meet my expectations. The book seemed to me to be in 3 parts..I enjoyed the first part but found the second part with its account of spirit mediums crude and not to my liking.
The last part again was very interesting and the book had a decent ending....
I found the factual information very interesting especially the fact that artists, if male, were paid a salary where women were paid a commision which really didn't seem fair.
But basically a good read I would give it 3 out of 5.

Rae1000 Sat 16-Apr-16 14:54:59

Hi, I read this book without reading the previous 2. I enjoyed it however felt there was always something lacking so I suggest for anybody interested in them to read them in sequence. Thanks very much

burwellmum Sat 16-Apr-16 16:29:35

I received this book as part of the giveaway. I had not read the other two books in the trilogy and while it did stand alone I would, I think, have benefited from reading the first two. The book is interesting but I did not find it very involving and I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I was disappointed as it was the first of Pat Barker's books I have read and I have heard great things of her Regeneration Trilogy.

katiebasey Mon 18-Apr-16 15:10:17

I am really looking forward to reading Noonday, just have to find time seem to be so busy at the moment , PB is one of my favourite authors

notqueenbee Mon 18-Apr-16 19:51:44

I very much enjoyed the novel - especially the vivid descriptions of the London blitz.
A question for Pat Barker: I wondered why you decided to include the character of Bertha Mason - and why name her after the character in ' Jane Eyre '?

rhinosuze Tue 19-Apr-16 13:52:52

I haven't read the other books which might have helped, but my review would actually be pretty much word for word what weathermum has said above to be honest. Didn't mind it but not something I'd read again

serendipity1980 Wed 20-Apr-16 17:21:42

Is this where I write a review for the book (I received a free copy). I love it, still about a third to go. Thanks Mumsnet

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Thu 21-Apr-16 14:17:04

I received a copy of this book from mumsnet as part of the book giveaway. To be honest, I was a little disappointed. I've loved every other Pat Barker book I've read, particularly The Regeneration Trilogy.
It is a very good book - it's very well researched with lots of atmosphere and period detail that makes it all feel very real. I just had this constant feeling that the characters were slightly out of place or just not really fitting in with their environment. It just didn't live up to my expectations. It felt like a disappointing ending to the trilogy.
I'd urge anyone who has read this as a stand alone book to seek out Pat Barker's other work as, in my opinion, the rest is far superior.

Woodhill Fri 22-Apr-16 16:11:07

Love Pat Barker. have read Toby's room and Life class. Not able to take part in chat but will be looking out for Noonday

blogmumjd Sat 23-Apr-16 21:17:49

This is the first Pat Barker book that I have read and although it is very well written, I did not enjoy it, but I did persevere to the end and will write my review up on my blog

LocalEditorMerton Sun 24-Apr-16 14:23:11

Hi Pat

Very much looking forward to the webchat on Wednesday.

You've now written two trilogies set against unfurling events of WW1, the Interwar Years, and WW2, so wondering whether you've got any plans to write something more contemporary, with the 'War on Terror' as its background?

Also, reading 'The Regeneration Trilogy' sent me off on a 'WW1 fiction fest' from which I've not yet really emerged. What WW1 set/inspired novel has most impressed you and why?


iwanttoscream Mon 25-Apr-16 12:51:00

This is the first Pat Barker i have read, as i got this book in the give away.
Have nearly finished the book, lovely storyline of how London was like in the Blitz.
Will seek out other Pat Barker books.

notqueenbee Mon 25-Apr-16 20:21:04

I'd be very interested to know why you called the novel ' Noonday', and your process at arriving at that decision. I loved the book, thank you!

Chchchchange Tue 26-Apr-16 18:55:47

I am a huge fan of yours, Pat. It's lovely to have you on here.

I'm wondering who inspired and inspires you now as a writer?

How much re-writing do you have to do when you sit down to write a book?

cookiemonster66 Wed 27-Apr-16 11:24:38

Really enjoying this book, its a real eye opener into wartime London and focuses on various characters and how their relationships are affected due to the war. Ive been spoilt with my kindle as Im finding it very heavy to hold going back to a hard back book. But this book is worth carrying the weight as its beautifully written, not usually my fav genre so am pleasantly surprised I am still reading to the end.

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