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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
16
4.5 out of 5 stars


on 28 August 2017
An absolute sustained masterpiece. Funny, nuanced, articulate and intelligent chronicle of English upper class life over the decades before and after the second world war.
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on 12 December 2016
These ending books finally get into *my* time (I was born in '39) and, taken with the previous nine books, they are my favourites.
All the good things about Powell; his splendid use of detail which, however gratuitous looking on the spot, always turns out to enrich the entire experience, often six, ten books back; his splendid rounding out of characters; his skillful use of structure and repeating themes, for instance the way that the very first scene of "A Question of Upbringing" with the workmen gathering round their fire bucket, just before Powell introduces Widmerpool, echoes into the description of Widmerpool's final, desperately sad end, and Jenkins steps into the street where the workmen, once again, gather round their coke bucket.
There are his "faults", too. Powell, throughout the whole series, never uses five words when ten will do- twenty words maybe. Round and round the houses; using words from Norse? Latin? Greek? So many choices in English, the longest and least used will do nicely. Sometimes he drives me nuts. Often he drives me nuts. But the stories and the characters are so skilfully done that they creep into my picture of the world. Going to Kensal Green cemetery to bury a friend, and a fellow reader and I fall into a discussion of Sunny Farebrother met on the Underground coming back from the same place, and smiling as the train pulls away. We discussed where Sunny might be going to, and settled on Piccadilly, where Sunny, the widower of wonderful Geraldine/Tuffy, would be living in a set at the Albany. It's that kind of series, gets under your skin.
As for the real ending, where the hooter, as the quarry ends the working day, becomes the conch of the centaurs as the sound of their hoofs dies out over hyperborean seas, and the formal measure of the seasons seems suspended in the wintry silence (see what I mean about the style?) because of the previous twelve books, always makes me cry. There's nothing wrong with self-indulgence.
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on 25 January 2017
The culmination of a long running and meticulously written saga.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 February 2012
So now, the end is near...Has it been worth it? I don't know to be honest. These last three volumes of the twelve that make up the Dance to the Music of Time cycle, seem rather like an odd afterthought or p.s. They are set far apart in terms of time from the chronology of the first nine books, and as many of the characters met their end in the war, depicted in books 7-9, a whole new cast has to be dragged in so that Powell can finish off his fascination with the character of Kenneth Widmerpool to the bitter end. Bits of these books were reasonably interesting to me, mostly book ten worked. Book twelve in particular I found a stretch too far, and I find myself, at the end of this herculean task of reading somewhat puzzled by it all. I need to go away and think about it for a while. As one of the other reviewers on here said, you cannot commit to the other books without reading these three. By this stage you have invested so much time and energy in the whole thing you simply can't leave it dangling in mid air, but I do think that things would have been much neater and more satisfactory as a whole if Powell had put the pen down at the end of book nine.
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on 1 January 2012
If you have read the other 9 books you will have to read this too.
It is probably a bit less interesting than the previous parts but Powell is still an exceptional author. The new characters in the last quarter of the books (apart from Trapnel) are less memorable than those of the previous books, but you will have to follow Widmerpool to his grisly end.
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on 20 January 2016
I loved these books, one of the great Literature works of our time. I highly recommend it. It is set against the first World War. It goes on for more than a generation and the characters keep up appearing and disappearing. all through the 4 volumes.. It is a great rendition of the upper classes way of life in London, during those years. Fabulous.
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on 25 August 2016
The entire series of 12 novels is a delight: an insight to the 20th century and how society restructured....as well as a great narrative with enchanting, as well as a few unpleasant characters. Beautifully written. A masterpiece.
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on 25 March 2013
I am greatly enjoying the wit of Anthony Powell. This series is solid , easy to handle & good value. I would recommend it to anyone who likes reading.
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on 23 March 2013
Containing volume 10-12, Winter Volumes - if you like, this was perhaps was my least favorite. But at the age of 20 I don't find myself surprised, for is not the book about the different tempos one's life takes?
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on 12 November 2016
A fantastic series of novels. The quality of the writing and humour more than make up for the limited plot.
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