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Parade's End Paperback – June 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews


Christopher Tietjens has long loved the beautiful young suffragette Valentine, but the pair are held apart by Christopher's loyalty to his wife Sylvia, despite her callous infidelities, and to a set of principles which belong to an old world, and which are about to be swallowed up in the mud and chaos of the Western Front. This majestic four-part novel is one of the finest achievements of twentieth century literature. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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This monumental novel, divided into four separate books, celebrates the end of an era, the irrevocable destruction of the comfortable, predictable society that vanished during World War I. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,670,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 200 people found the following review helpful By Harry Zimmerman on June 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I find it very sad that this great novel has again gone out of print, perhaps never to reappear after Everyman had to put it on remainder. Granted, as the reviews below note, it is written in an elliptical manner with time shifts, interior monologues as substitutions for action scenes and other moderist devices which make this book, like the Ulysses of Joyce, for instance, or Woolf's To the Lighthouse, God help us all, a challenge to the reader. And let's face it. Only critics like, or claim to like, a difficult book. Parade's End has never been a best seller; it has never been a modest seller. But behind the challenge is a heroic life given to us fearlessly, without irony or cynicism; a story that simultaneously beats on us and disintegrates before our eyes; and, built accretively, below our consciouness until the final novel, the tapestry of all the dross and glory of our own lives--all this the result in large part, no doubt, of these very modernist devices (while Lighthouse shows us that modernism can be an empty stage too). Tietjens stands with Adam Bede as one of the most memorable and noble characters in English literature. We care about him, which is exactly why the modernist style maddens us here--we need to know what happens to him, to be rushed to the finish. But Ford will not let us. We have to be pulled deep into Tietjens, to experience as our own all of his humiliations, to hold hard and unbending with him in intuitive dignity against the moral folly of others and the emptiness through which they are hurtled. Toward the end our reading slows. He is become our strength, our safe harbor; we cannot let him go. I know of no more powerful multi-volume work after Proust, not Musil, Powell, Durrell, etc., than Ford's Parades's End.
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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By David Liam Moran on February 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One of the greatest books EVER written in the English language. Period. (Well, actually, it's four books, but they don't publish them separately anymore.) FMF is a modernist genius in the order of a Faulkner or a Woolf, with a beautiful style, incredibly human characters, and a mind-boggling knowledge of both the human heart and the physical world. FMF seems to be as quasi-omniscient as his noble last Tory, the main character, Christopher Tietjens. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that it's an easy book. Parade's End not a potboiler to read at the beach while you're getting a tan and sipping margaritas. It is a book that challenges the reader to let go of expectation and any hope of conventional structure, and to allow FMF's unique storytelling to settle into your gut slowly. It is a moral novel that doesn't moralize. A book about what it is to be good, to be a human being. FMF's beautiful style is even exceeded by his love for humanity and generosity of spirit. The sheer uncynicalness of the book--especially in this hollow, cynical age--is like a balm on this reader's eyes. This is one of those books, like Sound & The Fury, like Ulysses, like Pride & Prejudice, like Great Expectations, that EVERYONE should read.
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71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Nunnally Jr. on January 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ford Madox Ford wrote prolifically, with a repertoire which experimented with style, character and narrative across a variety of settings and subject matters. Ford's Parade's End is among the very best of his works. The centerpiece, Christopher Tietjens, seems on the surface to represent a now-commonplace theme in English literature--the "last English gentleman" metaphorically swept away by modernity in the aftermath of the First World War. The first of this set of novels, "Some Do Not", features an opening passage which is laced with brilliant satire, crystal-clear character development, and a style which is utterly accessible and utterly enchanting. Through the rest of this novel, and well into the next volume, Ford seems to be telling a straightforward "passing of the noble old things" story. But Ford Madox Ford is rarely so straightforward, and these novels are no exception. What seems to begin as a mere bemoaning of a passing age turns into a demonstration of the inevitability, and even the desirability of its passing. Although Ford creates a perfect foil to Tietjens to apparently illustrate the vulgarity and superficiality of the modern age, things are not so simple. Tietjens views his world as irreparably fading, but Ford understands that Tietjens' world may never have existed at all. Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga and CP Snow's Strangers and Brothers novel cycle both try to show the passing of "old England" and the marching in of modernity. Neither Snow nor Galsworthy, though each is wonderful, does as much with narrative style as Ford does here.Read more ›
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Kirk on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It surpasses all the recenty novels I have read about World War I. It gives a though perspective, not merely a historical one. The characters and the times, their way of looking at a fast-disappearing world are vivid on the page. The literary quality means that you can be transported back into the era without leaving your seat--or searching names and places on your computer. You are a part of the times, and bleed as they bleed. The work is a masterpiece; it reinforces the importance of World War I in our lives. A generation lost, a generation who survive lives in terrible fear. You should not miss this.
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