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(Life Class #3)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,428 ratings  ·  250 reviews
In Noonday, Pat Barker - the Man Booker-winning author of the definitive WWI trilogy, Regeneration - turns for the first time to WWII.

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 h
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published July 27th 2015 by Hamish Hamilton
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Deb I'd say yes, one cannot understand the Neville character's actions without knowing the backstory.

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Diane S ☔
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
The last in a trilogy but is able to be read as a stand alone. I did read the first, Life Class many years ago but it in that book that I first became acquainted with Kit, Eleanor and Paul, sparing artists. Now as London is being bombarded, Eleanor and Kit, though their relationship is strained, are working together as ambulance drivers. Paul and Eleanor have been married for several years and now Paul is working as an air raid warden.

Barker has a very literate style of writing and she is able t
Althea Ann
I picked this one up on the basis that Barker is a Booker Prize-winning author. I probably also had a subconscious disposition toward the book based on its description, as I've read a couple of other books with a similar setting not so long in the past - and enjoyed them very much.

It's a slice-of-life, during the London Blitz.

Due to the war, artist Elinor is now volunteering as an ambulance driver. She's not seeing much of her husband, Paul, these days, who's busy with his own war-effort-relate
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-one
This is the last part of Barker’s second First World War trilogy. For this one she moves the story to the Second World War and the blitz. The three main characters from the first two books are still the focus of this one. Paul Tarrant and Elinor Brooke are now married; Kit Neville has been married and is now divorced. The setting is London in the autumn of 1940 during the blitz. Elinor and Kit are volunteer ambulance drivers and Paul is an air-raid warden.
Barker captures the terror and trauma of
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Ok this is going to be a strange review. Let me first say that I didn't really like the book. But 3.5 stars you say? Surely that means you liked it at least a bit?? And therein lies the contradiction.

As always, Pat Barker puts forward excellent depictions of real people. So real, in fact, that you feel like they're those people you know through tv, or Facebook, or friends- you know the ones you hear lots about and maybe talk lots about, but never really speak to directy? So real that t
Roger Brunyate
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, history
These Pesky Sequels!

I have an ambivalent relationship with the books of Pat Barker. I found Regeneration , the opening novel of her first WW1 trilogy, to be absolutely brilliant. I was disappointed by the second volume in the series, though found the standard at least partially regained in the third. She revisited WW1 in Life Class , which I did not especially like, although there was interest in the fact that the three major characters—Paul Tarrant, Kit Neville, and Elinor Brooke, the wom
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2016
An odd mixture. Pat Barker's books are always interesting and populated by memorable characters, but I couldn't help finding this one a little disappointing, at least compared to the first two parts of this trilogy. This one takes the characters from Life Class and Toby's Room and moves them forward to their middle age in the London blitz. Much of the writing, particularly the descriptions of the bombing and its aftermath is very powerful, but I felt the book was a little let down by a subplot i ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The third book in the series that started with Life Class and Toby's Room, this takes the story of the love triangle that is Elinor, Paul and Kit into middle age and into the horrors of London during the Blitz. Although this is the third book in the series there seems to be enough background provided to make it possible to read this as a standalone book. I really don't think that you would appreciate the depth of story and feeling should you choose to read it in this fashion. The ghosts from the ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, britain
Well, I never thought I’d be saying this about a novel by Pat Barker, but I found Noonday banal. It’s basically a not particularly interesting version of the eternal triangle with the London Blitz as a backdrop, and the ending is trite.

Noonday completes the story of Paul Tarrant, Elinor Brooke and Kit Neville whose story began in Life Class and continued in Toby’s Room, novels which tread the well-worn paths of Ypres and the Somme and the concomitant loss of hope, faith and sometimes a moral com
Chloe Fowler
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I feel pretty measly giving a Pat Barker novel such a low score. Noonday is just a slither of World War-ry nothing. I can't remember Toby's Room but perhaps neither could Barker. The characters are flat, unappealing and I didn't give two hoots one way or another. It's not a love-triangle either, it's just some bumps in the night. Perhaps the trouble with war novels (or rather, blitz novels) is that in all the whizz of sirens, rubble, ambulances and bombs you can just too easily bury the plot.
So. I really really liked Toby's Room. And I was less fond of Life Class. This was at least not a third simul-quel (I was afraid it might be), but instead a fast forward to WWII. I was fairly confused as to which reality is real (the one from Toby's Room or the one from Life Class), but then realized that the main threads are mostly the same it is just the details that differ. And, of course that might have been Barker's point (perspective is everything and our truths are not always the same). S ...more
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was really pleased when asked me to review Pat Barker’s new novel and to devour this when only a few people have had this privilege. So not being able to go on holiday, this was a treat.

I came across Pat Barker in the 90s with the trilogy Regeneration which I enjoyed immensely, but forgot about her books after that.

Noonday is set at the beginning of World War 2, but the effects of World War One are still raw. Here the next generation are off to war; wives loosing husbands to
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Elinor Brooke (still using her maiden name professionally) is married to Paul Tarrant, they haven’t had children and as the novel begins Elinor is staying in the country with her sister Rachel, while their mother is dying. Rachel (critical and traditional as ever) and her husband have an evacuee Kenny from London staying with them, although have done little to make him feel welcome. Kenny feels particularly drawn to Paul, the one person who has shown him sympathy, so when during one of Paul’s vi ...more
Janet Mary
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I have a very high opinion of Pat Barker, and really enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, but I found the final installment a bit patchy, and not up to her usual high standards. The book does have considerable merit and her descriptions of London under the blitz really do bring home the conditions that people had to endure. However there are too many loose ends, and characters whose storylines don't really develop, for example the medium is an interesting character, but her part in the s ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The iconic phrase from London’s Blitz was “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The media of the time gives us one version of life during one of the longest sustained bombing campaigns in history, of Londoners with cheerful grins giving Hitler the double fingers (usually metaphorically, because they are English) or serving up a cup of tea in an air raid shelter. The characters in Noonday, by Pat Barker, are not particularly calm and are not carrying on very well...

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Typ
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Noonday’ is the final book in a trilogy by Pat Barker. The earlier books are ‘Life Class’ and ‘Toby’s Room’ and it’s been quite a while since I read them. I have enjoyed all three novels, which cover a time period beginning just before the outbreak of the Great War through to the London blitz of WW2. The story line follows the intertwined lives and loves of three characters, who were all students of the Slade school of art and all studied under the tutelage of Henry Tonks. This alone was enough ...more
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel brings Pat Barker’s recent Life Class trilogy to a close. Since the second volume nearly twenty-five years have passed and we are in London in 1940 during the Blitz. Elinor and Neville are ambulance drivers, Paul an air-raid warden. Elinor and Paul have married each other, and Neville has been married to Elinor’s best friend but is now divorced. Elinor continues her art work, and Paul art has moved ahead of Neville’s in public estimation.

Barker’s descriptions of London during the Blit
Carolyn Mck
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I doubt that I’ve read a novel about the London Blitz that was as vividly written as this (but I must admit I haven't read many). Certain images remained indelibly after I’d finished it – pigeons with fiery wings, brewery horses galloping through the streets with their manes ablaze – and on a human level, the old couple dead in their bed, holding hands, or the child whose floppy corpse is laid out gently on the pavement as if she were a rag doll.

In this third novel of a trilogy, we meet again E
Brenda A
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Noonday is mean to be a small slice of life during WWII for people in London. Planes fly overhead, the distant sounds of gunfire can be heard, fires and bombs are normal circumstances. They learn to move on and get through the daily parts of their lives without any additional pomp and circumstance.

Here, our focus is on Elinor and Paul--a couple who are dealing with every day scenarios as well as war-centric ones. While I like the idea behind it, actual execution wasn't something I was tremendou
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Pat Barker is one of my favourite authors, jowever her work can sometimes be uneven and unlike her masterpiece Regeneration qhich is one of the most unforgetable dictions of the First World War, her life class trology is uneven in parts. However there is much to enjoy about the book as an ex-Londoner myself I particularly enjoyed her descriptions of summer and early autumn in London and her extensively researched knowledge of some of the lesser known London highways and byways. I also always enj ...more
Bernadette Jansen op de Haar
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Superficially, Noonday by Pat Barker can be read as a very well written and interesting love-hate triangle between Paul, Elinor and Neville (Kit). That alone would make a wonderful book but it is so much more.

Noonday shows us the devastating effects of the London blitz, devastating for buildings as well as relationship. And it shows us this, Pat Barker doesn’t just tell the story, full of striking scenes such as the one of doctors operating under the light of London burning, you can almost feel
Oct 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016-reads
This was fine and the audio was an excellent production. Juliet Stevenson reads the voice of Elinor, the male readers of Paul and Kit Neville were skillful, and the voice of the older homeless woman was strange and memorable - I think this was stage actress Anne Reid, and it was just strange because it was close third person but read as if first person. But in the end this novel and the trilogy just didn't resonant for me the way the Regeneration trilogy did. Life Class - audio; Toby's Room - te ...more
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gosh, like the first book in the trilogy, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary descriptions of persons who were not essential to the plot.
I kept thinking back to the first book and an early entry about a young woman Paul sees in the park. She seems to be drunk and pursued by a letcher. The end.
What is the purpose of the character of Bertha Mason? Three chapters about her and I have no idea what is the point?
So, trilogy's, just long drawn out poorly edited books in three volumes? I don't know.
Lovmelovmycats Hart
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I still love Pat Barker. I dislike the summary they wrote on the back of my copy. I feel depressed. This book is pretty depressing. I love the last line though ❤️
Peter Hollerin
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this book and provides a fulfilling and moving conclusion to the Life Class trilogy. The horrors of the blitz stay in the mind, but it’s the beautifully developed characters that make these novels remarkable.
Catherine  Mustread
Third in an excellent trilogy, the first two (1- Life Class; and 2- Toby's Room) taking place during World War One and this one jumping ahead to 1939 and the beginning of World War Two, focusing on three of the characters that originally met in art school in the first book.

Not a happy book, but wonderful character development and wonderfully evocative of the time, place and history of the times and characters.  Can be best appreciated reading the trilogy in order.  I am a super fan of Pat Barker
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great read. Great author.
William Koon
Apr 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Pat Barker continues –and expands—her story of WWI. This time in the third volume of this series, she extends her characters into WWII and the London blitz. She continues to explore the same characters she did in Life Class and Toby’s Room. Even poor Toby who chose an honorable “suicide” over the revelation of his seedy sex life hangs over them. Sometimes it’s the physical portrait of him. Sometimes it’s Elinor’s memory of the “love that has no name” she had with her brother: just once. “Though, ...more
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable though less focussed on the damage done by war than her previous works - The Regeneration Trilogy and parts 1 & 2 of this The Life Class trilogy. This seemed more centred on petty jealousies and relationships and how they can change within the immediacy and urgency of feelings that wartime - in this case on the home front during World War Two - can bring. The physical damage to Paul Tarrant and Kit Neville was inflicted during World War One as were the emotional scars on eac ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm a Pat Barker fan. Her Regeneration series inspired me to read a lot of fiction about the first world war. I struggled deciding how to rate her latest novel, Noonday, because it didn't capture me as much as the earlier series but that may be because I prefer to read about the first world war.

Noonday is set during the London blitz of the second world war and the images of a bombed city are very strongly presented. Noonday continues the story of three characters that were introduced in Barker'
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Well artists are so different from other people aren't they? Have incestuous relationships, hop in and out of bed with friends.....
Really didn't like this trilogy that much, perhaps that as an artist myself I saw too many cracks and clichés.
In my experience most artists are just as boring and normal as the rest of the population and it's generally only the bad ones that feel they have to be "eccentric".
Couldn't take this volume that seriously after the references to plastic....plastic catheter b
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Pat Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics.

Her books include the highly acclaimed Regeneration trilogy Regeneration; The Eye in the Door, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize; and The Ghost Road, winner of the Booker Prize; as well as seven other novels. She's married and lives in Durham, Engla

Other books in the series

Life Class (3 books)
  • Life Class (Life Class, #1)
  • Toby's Room (Life Class, #2)

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