Tuesday, 14 October 2008
BOOKS DO FURNISH A ROOM
For the last two months I have been reading a 12 volume novel cycle written by Anthony Powell called 'A Dance To The Music Of Time'. I finished the final book last week and still cannot get my head out of the world Powell scripted so meticulously between 1951 and 1975, that's why I wanted to write this post. It's an incredible read, I don't think I've enjoyed reading anything more and in my awkward summation tracks the life journey of anti-protagonist Nick Jenkins through starting out at school to his twilight years. I say anti-protagonist because you literally know only a handful of information about the passive narrator by the conclusion, choosing through it's largely conversational style to document the manners and movements of his friends, enemies and acquaintances (rather than himself) as they reshuffle and interlock through the years making new connections and severing others as they grow up, enter society, find jobs, find love, find themselves at war, growing old and ultimately facing death. More or less everyone I've met over the last few weeks has barely heard of the work, even though it's still very much in print and regarded critically as important as Ulysses and In Search Of Lost Time, applauded during it's publication but now considered somewhat out of fashion. Perhaps due to Powell's keenness in detailing the aristocracy, or the political and military subjects that at times are introduced, maybe just the fact that it is on face value a bit of a daunting read, Dance seems to have sidestepped out of the spotlight for a time. For this reason I want to enthuse as much as possible about Dance, I honestly cannot for the life of me think of anything I have ever read that's held me so involved, it's seriously funny and at times too tragic a reminder of the meaningless behind much of our lives. There's only so many hours in the day and we can't waste a single second SO go and read Dance, it's more than worth it! And yes of course if you've already read all about the Widmerpools, Jean Templar, X Trapnel, Dr Trelawney and Stringham THEN let's totally high five when we meet in the street!