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157 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this not better known?
Until quite recently I was barely aware of Ford Madox Ford. When people list the great writers of the early 20th Century his name usually merits only a footnote. However, a short article in a national newspaper appraising "The Good Soldier" as one of the great English novels prompted me to read it. And great it is.

That led me onto this weighty quartet, which...
Published on 2 Nov 2007 by Amazon Customer

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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbled text
This Kindle edition may be cheap, but it's hopelessly garbled. After the first few paragraphs the text starts to get out of order (as you can see by comparing with other Kindle editions, e.g. Everyman or Swift).

For example we have:
"Nevertheless Macmaster moved in drawing rooms that, with long curtains, blue china plates, large-patterned wallpapers and...
Published 20 months ago by EalingMan


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157 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this not better known?, 2 Nov 2007
By 
Until quite recently I was barely aware of Ford Madox Ford. When people list the great writers of the early 20th Century his name usually merits only a footnote. However, a short article in a national newspaper appraising "The Good Soldier" as one of the great English novels prompted me to read it. And great it is.

That led me onto this weighty quartet, which has lived with me for the last couple of months. And it confirms my suspicions that Ford is indeed one of our greatest writers, whether he is currently fashionable or no.

One of my first reactions was that - notwithstanding the publisher's blurbs and cover illustrations - this is NOT a novel "about" the First World War. Yes, the war is an important theme, but it is by no means the only one. In fact the military action, such as it is, features only in the third of the four novels making up the sequence.

No, this book belongs in the pantheon of the great "social" novels - it stands up extremely well against Galsworthy, Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf, Anthony Powell, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald and even Marcel Proust, who are Ford's true contemporaries. Indeed, it shares with those writers' works an experimental approach to exploring characters' psychological motivations and thought processes that was so characteristic of the 1920s "Modernist" movement. Rarely has a writer captured so well the way in which peoples' minds REALLY work - with confusion, doubt and sudden impulsive decision galloping along in rapid succession. Ford has a rare gift for bathos - broad comedy and real human tragedy can inhabit the same page in a way which can be unsettling, but always rings true.

This is very much a novel of its time - and especially - social milieu. Almost all the main characters are members of the English upper-middle classes, and the book charts mercilessly the unravelling of their once-secure world, as Britain shifts into the modern, post-Victorian era.

Structurally, it is equally impressive. Ford has a breathtaking ability to "time-shift" back-and-forth without ever losing the reader's attention; each chapter starts off with a major leap forward from the one before, so that we are initially unsure of what has happened in the meantime. Then, via a series of "flashbacks" and subtle conversations, the missing jigsaw pieces are slotted into place and the picture becomes clear.

Interestingly, almost every scene consists of dialogue, with one, two and occasionally three or four characters interacting in a single location - it is almost as if Ford had one eye on a possible stage dramatisation of the story. As such, it would - in the hands of the right screenwriter and director - make a superb TV adaptation. We've had "A Dance To The Music Of Time" and "Brideshead", so come on BBC/Channel Four - why not? (EDIT, September 2012 - thanks Mr. Stoppard!)

You'll have gathered by now that I love this book. It may not be to everyone's taste - Ford's use of language can seem slightly odd to modern ears, for example - but if you enjoy a book you can "live in" for an extended period, I urge you to give it a try.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, 29 Sep 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parade's End (Paperback)
I must admit that I have now read Parade's End twice this month, once on my kindle, and now this treebook edition. I also watched the BBC adaptation, which I quite enjoyed. There are a couple of things to be aware of though if you are reading this for the first time, this isn't really a book that you can easily read whilst commuting (I will come to why in a moment), and if you enjoyed Parade's End [DVD] it is no indicator whatsoever that you will enjoy the book.

Ford Madox Ford was a modernist and he loved to play with the chronological order of events, as can be seen right at the beginning of this book. Christopher Tietjens starts off on a train with a friend going to play golf, then the story back tracks into the events that led up to why. This happens throughout the book, indeed at one stage you read about the First World War ending, and then you are taken back to the War and the events that happened to Tietjens. This some people may find off putting, but Ford's reasons for this is that we don't think in a particular chronological order, which is after all correct. We may start talking about something that happened and then realise that we have mentioned an event that didn't happen until later in the main event. Also Ford was a great admirer of James Joyce's 'Ulysses', and thus this book or rather the four books that make up this story all contain stream of consciousness. As you can see to read all of this whilst on your daily commute is perhaps too tall an order, as you have to keep a lot in mind until you next pick the book up.

The basic storyline in itself is simple, a man marries a woman who is unfaithful, then himself falls in love with another woman. What Ford does with that story though transcends into something much more complex and powerful. Starting before and finishing after the First World War there is tragedy here, as well as quite a bit of comedy, whether that is the dark comedy of war, or the satire of the landed classes. In stories of war we are used to reading of the horrors and traumas that one faces, but here Ford also gives us the darkly comic side of all the absurdities and red tape that has to be got through just to get something as simple for instance as a blanket, or even a fire extinguisher. On top of this poor old Tietjens has to contend with his wife, her manipulations, and the rumours that she has caused to be started about him. And of course people sponging off him.

Some can argue that this book is of its time, of an era that no longer exists, and yes they can make a valid point. We know that after the horrors of the First World War and before that even the system of great houses and servants was in decline, with the war arguably sounding the ultimate death knell. This book is more than that, it shows the horror and trauma of war and what can happen to people when you start spreading lies about them. People change, their characters alter, for the better, or worse. This book shows that clearly, along with other such things. The biggest draw though with this is Christopher Tietjens. You start off seeing him as a man with ideals from the 18th Century that arguably only ever existed on the pages of a novel. As the years and events take their toll though he does alter, but even at the end of this you still find his character a bit of an enigma, and that draws you back to him and the whole story again. Never boring, completely compelling, this is a story that often gets overlooked, but will give you hours of satisfaction and enjoyment. Just remember, this isn't a quick read, it takes time, and provided you don't forget where you are, not that complex to take in.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Discovery!, 19 Sep 2012
This review is from: Parade's End (Paperback)
The plot is thin. The book is too long. Not much happens. Parts are obscure and little is easy reading. And yet.........Nothing would have stopped me finishing this fine and largely forgotten novel. The hero became my hero. I wanted him to be happy.
I wanted him to be rich (though with his propensity for giving money away, there was fat chance of that). I wanted him to get his woman. Most of all I fell for his High Toryism - his sense of obligation to his fellow man, to his country and most of all to his class. His wife was so evil I could not accept her but his 'friend' was oh so true to life. On war at the Front it is wonderful particularly in its focus on noise. Noise troubled Ford more than anything else when he served in France by the was. The minor characters are tremendous; his fellow officers, his father, Macmaster and his horrible wife all stay in the mind. Beware, if 'stream of consciousness' is anathema to you, you will not stay the course. Beware too that the last of the tetrology that this book is was written reluctantly. It drags and would have been better added in a shortened version to the third book.
The novel is very autobiographical and a biography of the author to accompany it would not come amiss. There are two or three good ones available from Amazon.
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63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Garbled text, 29 Aug 2012
By 
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This Kindle edition may be cheap, but it's hopelessly garbled. After the first few paragraphs the text starts to get out of order (as you can see by comparing with other Kindle editions, e.g. Everyman or Swift).

For example we have:
"Nevertheless Macmaster moved in drawing rooms that, with long curtains, blue china plates, large-patterned wallpapers and large, quiet mirrors, sheltered the long-haired of the Arts. And, as near as that that was his due, and he would accept the tribute in silence."

and, later on:
"Sometimes Sir Reginald would say: "You're a perfect encyclopaedia of exact material knowledge, Tietjens," and Tietjens thought a son of the manse."

with chunks of text misplaced in between.

One hopes the printed version is better. At least with the Kindle edition, you've only lost 0.77, but you'd do better to buy one of the others from the start.
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52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats, 24 Aug 2006
By 
Wolf (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
I am not a great reader, failing to finish most of the books I start. When I do finish something, it is because it has compelled me to do so. Parade's End has this effect on me in a way that only authors like Homer and Tolstoy have done before. I have barely even heard Ford's name mentioned, let alone this novel, so this is really one to read and get people talking about.

The story carried across the tetralogy is, in its essence, simple. An heroic figure (a Sophoclean hero, in that his integrity is more precious to him than the ostensible success of his life) is ruined by the effects of a poisonous wife and the First World War, in which he serves at the front.

Ford advances far beyond the narrative into scathing social observation and critique. His literary style alone is breathtaking. The war writing is both harrowing and historically enlightening.

If you like your novels serious, this is for you.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The single greatest undiscovered classic?, 21 April 2008
I've never understood why this isn't regarded as one of the all time classics of English literature. Perhaps it's too long to have been widely read. But with novels about the First World War back in vogue it could be time for a reappraisal.
The plot: as a story of a changing society it is very much a novel of today - and the First World War never seems far from the media, school curriculum and popular imagination. The characters: take your pick from an array of complex, troubled humanity - is Sylvia Tietjens the most purely malevolent women to have taken shape on the printed page? The style: a rich and complex use of language, time shifts and scenic planning that creates an endlessly subtle evocation of time, place and character.
For me it is this style that I find most utterly compelling about the book: as rich a reading experience as you will ever find.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible edition - don't bother, 29 Aug 2012
By 
Miss S E Breen (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I gave up after only a few pages as this edition was awful: as one of the other reviewers said, the text is garbled and just didn't make any sense so I will have to try again with another download. Furthermore, the font size was either too small or too big. As they say, "you gets what you pay for" - in this case, absolute tosh.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A challenging complex read with much internal consciousness, 13 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Parade's End (Paperback)
"Parade's End" is a series of four novels, three of which hang together closely and all of which deal mainly with the same three characters. It is certainly not a family saga with the story progressing through time. There are though a few events that are latched onto and recur in (mainly Christpher Tietjens') ongoing musings. In a way it is a sad version of the eternal triangle, a hero married to an unloving wife who glimpses the elusive love of his life, but his antagonistic wife delights in making his life difficult.
It was written in the times of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf when the new fashion was for much musing and complex Freudian reaction. For us today it makes for a difficult read but one that is ultimately rewarding and its memory is lingering. The war sections are distinctively real and show the exhaustion of the senior officers close to the front in a way not found in other war novels. The fourth book is much less about Tietjens. The nearest we get to an "ending" is at the end of the third novel but the story (nightmare) goes on - as life tends to. It lingers in the mind afterwards....
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bring your own proofreader, 11 Sep 2012
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On my kindle, at least, this edition is not the garbled mess it seems to have been for others - but it is desperately in need of a proof-reader. The publisher should be embarrassed to have released it.

The five-star rating is for the novel not the publisher.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good work spoiled..., 17 Aug 2012
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This review is for the Penguin Kindle version. I have found this book to be mesmerising and am unable to put it down. The characters may not be likeable but you can't help wanting to know what happens to them.
The writing is faultless but penguin should be ashamed for this digital effort. The pages are full of silly errors. puctuation and places where words are obviously scanned in wrong. It detracts very much from the story and makes for a very shabby product.
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Parade's End
Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford (Paperback - 16 Aug 2012)
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