D J-Taylor

Spirits of the Blitz

Concluding her latest trilogy, Noonday sees the few remaining Slade painters bearing up — and bearing stretchers — through the Blitz

If the early Martin Amis is instantly recognisable by way of its idiosyncratic slang (‘rug-rethink’, ‘going tonto’ etc) then the later Pat Barker can be similarly identified by its finely wrought accounts of physical trauma. ‘Afterwards, it was the horses she remembered,’ runs a specimen sentence from the new novel, ‘galloping towards them out of the orange-streaked darkness, their manes and tails on fire.’

Noonday’s Blitz-era setting — the horses are in flight from a bombed-out brewery — gives Barker ample opportunity to do what she does best: intent descriptions of...

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