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A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement Paperback – May 31, 1995
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Such a description might make the novel seem stuffy, but it is not. _A Dance to the Music of Time_ is at times very funny indeed, and always interesting. always involving. It features an enormous cast of characters, and Powell has the remarkable ability to make his characters memorable with the briefest of descriptions. In addition, Powell's prose is addictive: very characteristic, idiosyncratic, and elegant.
The long novel follows the life of the narrator, Nicholas Jenkins, from his time at Eton just after World War I to retirement in the English countryside in the late '60s. But Jenkins, though the narrator, is in many ways not the most important character. The comic villain Widmerpool, a creature of pure will, and awkward malevolence, is the other fulcrum around which the novel pivots.
This first volume of the University of Chicago Press' beautiful four-volume Trade Paperback edition contains the first three books: _A Question of Upbringing_, which follows Nick Jenkins and his friends Charles Stringham and Peter Templer, along with Kenneth Widmerpool, through the last few terms at Eton, and summer spent in France, and then time at Oxford; _A Buyer's Market_, which covers Nick and his friends in their early 20s, attending dances and dinners, having love affairs, and beginning to make careers; and _The Acceptance World_, which shows the young men becoming settled in their careers, and beginning to marry and divorce and have more affairs as their "dance" continues.
This is simply outstanding stuff.
Above all, this is a work that limns in almost tedious detail the interrelations and interworkings of a segment of English society in the 20th century. These first three books take you from the early twenties into the early thirties. Despite the series great length, there is nothing epic about the scale of the novels except for the overall length of of the series as a whole. The scenes are all horribly mundane. A party here, a dinner there, a chance meeting in a bar, more parties, more dinners. But as the parties and dinners multiply, and as one social encounter builds upon another, the series does indeed take on an epic quality.
This new edition is far more attractive than the old mass market edition of the series, but I do wish that someone would have taken the effort to supply an appendix (perhaps to the final volume) that would (as in some editions of Trollope and Proust) explain who all the characters are and to whom they are related. By the sixth volume in the series, I began to find it extremely difficult to remember precisely where each character fit in the social world as a whole.
The greatest virtues of Powell's series are his richly delineated characters (of which there are at least fifty to a hundred who are to some degree significant) and his marvelously elegant prose. I believe that anyone who loves novels would love this series, in particular those who have enjoyed Proust.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even the world's best narrator, Simon Vance, can't make a bad book into a good one. While the writing - content wise, recalls certain aspects of Evelyn Waugh, Aldous Huxley, even... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Diane C. Fox
The least interesting feature of the first three novels, at least, of Anthony Powell's 12-volume "A Dance to the Movement of Time" (1951-1975) is its philosophy of... Read morePublished 13 months ago by DT
It's difficult to write about this series without mentioning Proust at some point, so I might as well get it out of the way now. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Michael Battaglia
Pull up a chair and watch the well-born go at it in all their private glory. It's grand fun. Of course there are a clutch of characters who are not from the upper reaches of... Read morePublished 20 months ago by VG
I can't recommend THIS EDITION! I find it very hard to read. It is heavy and difficult to hold open because the binding-edge margins are too small. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Snapperblue
This four-part Mega-novel is a unique and utterly charming view into life in England in the 20th century. Don't be put off by the cover, this is a light-hearted masterpiece.Published 21 months ago by Mercedes Lackey
I think the miniseries would be more interesting than the books. Very slow reading and plot development.Published 23 months ago by Woomie Dew
This edition has the first three volumes in the twelve novel, “A Dance to the Music of Time,” comprising A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer’s Market and The Acceptance World. Read morePublished on July 21, 2014 by S Riaz