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Parade's End (Carcanet Fiction) Paperback – 25 Feb 2006

3.9 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 846 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd; New edition edition (25 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857548922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857548921
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,678,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'the terrifying story of a good man tortured, pursued, driven into revolt, and ruined as far as the world is concerned by the clever devices of a jealous and lying wife'
Graham Greene

'[Ford] was the only Englishman who stood alongside the great "moderns" - Joyce, Eliot and Pound'
Peter Ackroyd

'Of the various demands one can make of the novelist, that he show us the way in which a society works, that he show an understanding of the human heart, that he create characters whose reality we believe and for whose fate we care, that he describe things and people so that we feel their physical presence, that he illuminate our moral consciousness, that he make us laugh and cry, that he delight us by his craftsmanship, there is not one, it seems to me, that Ford does not completely satisfy. There are not many English novels which deserve to be called great: Parade's End is one of them.' --W.H.Auden, 1961

Book Description

A masterpiece of wartime writing by one of the most esteemed novelists of the twentieth century --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2012
Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I should have paid more attention to some of the poorer reviews. I've only read the first three chapters but it has been hard going. It's not so much the progression of the story, it is the poorly laid out and garbled text. For example: 'Of course, that hurts him,' is how it should appear on my Kindle page. It actually appears as 'Of coursethathurts him.' These are not isolated instances but occur on most pages. Very frustrating but I will try to persevere as I do not like giving up on a book. If you're thinking of adding this to your Kindle, I would suggest you revert back to the good old paperback instead.
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