- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (2 Oct. 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099416875
- ISBN-13: 978-0099416876
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Dance to the Music of Time: vol.2: Summer: Summer Vol 2 Paperback – 2 Oct 1997
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"I would rather read Mr Powell than any English novelist now writing" (Kingsley Amis)
"There is no other novelist whose work gives so much or such consistent pleasure." (TLS)
"I think it is now becoming clear that A Dance to the Music of Time is going to become the greatest modern novel since Ulysses." (Clive James)
'One of English fiction's few twentieth-century masterpieces' -John Lanchester, London Review of BooksSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The key character of the novel -- and the most interesting -- is Kenneth Widmerpool, who enters the novel as an oddity -- a lower-class boy at an upper-class school, not quite right in anything he does, mocked by other boys, and yet a puzzle to them. Over the course of the novels, we trace Widmerpool's rising fortunes, and see how his oddness, his accomplished fawning, his determination, his willingness to face any humiliation and survive any snub, take him to the very top of British society. Widmerpool is one of the greatest creations of modern fiction. Every other character in the novel is in some way seen in relation to Widmerpool, and helps in some way to shed light on the rise of a new force in British political life, the Labour Party. And as Widmerpool's fortunes rise, so the old ruling class, the landed gentry and the Old School, are shown in decline. New money replaces old, the status quo crumbles silently into dust.
A common criticisms of this series is that it is wordy. Powell is a writer who loves to expand on the minutiae of life, producing a flow of words which at times overwhelms the reader. Moreover, the books are repetitive, consisting largely of endless conversations between characters which don't always go anywhere, and merge into one another; but this is a group of novels to be read at leisure, rather than to be raced through. Take them along on a slow boat to China.
I recommend the novels very highly to anyone who loves to read well-written English, and who has the patience for the long haul.
His prose can be a little dense, even opaque, at times and I often feel I have to re-read sections to understand the full meaning, but as a portrait of a certain kind of upper-middle class life through the 20th century it is fascinating. However one should not be put off by the ambience as the characterisation transcends class and circumstances. Widmerpool must be one of the greatest comic (?) creations of all time. Everyone knows someone like Widmerpool, although perhaps not such an extreme example; he is a consolation to anyone who is frustrated by the prospect of someone advancing inexorably up the greasy pole, despite their manifest inadequacies and faults. Hard work and determination can get one a long way.
I particularly loved his reconstruction of Aleister Crowley - I think he did too, so much so he reincarnated him in the last book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Perhaps the slowest of the 4 volumes but worth persevering with as the saga unfolds.Published 3 months ago by Llaf Divad
Must be at least my tenth re reading of one of my all time favorites...a masterpiece.Published 10 months ago by rae
Simply magnificent. This is one of the most astonishing English language novels of the twentieth century.Published 20 months ago by Tim Key
This is a wonderful novel sequence, but I would advise readers to steer well clear of this edition as it is very poorly printed. The paper is cheap and thin and the cover floppy. Read morePublished 21 months ago by MJ
This extraordinary saga, a semi-autobiographical account of a group of contemporaries at school (sounds like Eton) in the 1920s whose lives criss-cross each other during the... Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2015 by Richard Byrne
Powell was a slowly-acquired taste for me – the current seems slow-moving at the beginning (i.e vol 1 of the 12) of this most riverine of romans fleuves. Read morePublished on 31 May 2013 by Duncan Bush