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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent guide to an excellent series, 15 Dec 2008
By 
C. Willis (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
Hilary Spurling's Handbook is not only an invaluable resource and companion to Anthony Powell's magnum opus, but in itself an impressive piece of literature- the sheer effort of collating the details and intricacies of each character's lifespan as portrayed in the 12-book roman fleuve strikes the reader with every page. Presented in such a format, one can truly appreciate the vastness of Powell's created world; the novel is made even more impressive as a result.

While this book will likely be primarily employed as an intermittent accompaniment to a reading of the series (one can quite easily lose track of a particular character's whereabouts or current status if not reading assiduously)- it stands alone as an enjoyable way to fill an afternoon simply browsing through the wealth of information contained within- the character biographies are droll and, while the nature of the book (essentially purely factual) does not necessarily lend itself to the author expressing her own views to any considerable extent, one does encounter a certain wryness here and there that proves amusing.

Regarding the physical quality of the book- the binding seems fairly sturdy, and the paper of a good quality (considering the poor quality of many modern English books I feel it is sadly necessary to assuage potential buyers' fears on this matter!)

For anyone who finds themselves occasionally losing track of details in the plot, or simply wishes to check whether Sillery's first name was ever mentioned, this is a superb purchase. Random House should be praised for their publication of this book, which was much sought after by Powell enthusiasts during a lengthy period of being out of print. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invitation to the dance, 11 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
This is a must for anyone who has read the Anthony Powell novels. It is an exellent reference book and also informative about his source material.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction to Dance, 15 Jun 2014
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Dr. W. Hunter Blair (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
12 volumes is a large work and Invitation To the Dance tho' a masterpiece can make it difficult to remember some of the characters. This little handbook comes in handy and he short essay at the beginning is very good. Not indispensable for Dance readers, but very helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful, 31 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
Very useful but be careful if you read it before finishing the whole series, I was reminding myself of details of one of the lesser characters when I was near the end of the series and accidentally hit a massive spoiler so be careful not to read about a character beyond where you have got up to!!
Very thorough and useful book though apart from that!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Spurling's Powell, 11 Dec 2013
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Duncan Bush - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
Useful to Powell devotees, and well-written in its own right. The thumbnail sketches are often like Marc cartoons in their sharpness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For reference, 14 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
A work of reference for a complex novel. One doesn't read it through - just use it as and if needed. Detailed and thorough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you love the Dance, 29 Jun 2013
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This is strictly for readers and lovers of the Powell sequence- like me. In that case, it's a wonderful browse and a reminder of the whole series..
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4.0 out of 5 stars It is a brilliant book but mADDENING TRYING TO READ ON KINDLE.NEED TO SEE INDEX OFTEN NO HOPE ON KINDLE, 4 Dec 2012
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NOT FOR KINDLING AS ONE NEEDS TO REFER TO THE INDEX FREQUENTLY BUT WONDERFUL BOOK FOR POWELL ENTHUSIASTS.
WHY DO YOU INSIST ON A CERTAIN NUMBER OF WORDS?
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Annotating the dance, 12 Dec 2011
By 
Peter Merrington (Cape Town, Western Cape, ZA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
The biographer Hilary Spurling brings her depth of knowledge of metropolitan English society, history, art, and the world of letters to this comprehensive work of reference.

'Invitation to the Dance' is a thorough study of references and cross-references to Anthony Powell's twentieth-century classic series of twelve novels. She covers every one out of several hundred characters, referencing details of their personal histories, personalities, careers, opinions, and roles in the plot. She also provides sections that deal with Powell's use of art history, music, film and literature.

Powell's 'Dance to the Music of Time' is, among other things, an extended roman a clef, and it may well be valuable to have a second companion that explores the author's fictional recreation of real people and events in British or English history in the first decades of the last century.Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time [Paperback] Hilary Spurling (Author), 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Invitation To The Dance: A Handbook to Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time (Paperback)
Should have put true names & places to books, ie Lord Elridgre is partly a take off of George Orwell. Pamela Flyton seems likely to have been based on Pamela Churchill Harriman, & I believe CastleMallock is actually CastleCaldwell in Co Fermanagh N.I.
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