0445 | ADMT III: The Acceptance World | Anthony Powell


I felt this was the strongest volume so far of Powell’s 12-volume Dance to the Music of Time. Things seemed to have bedded into a nice rhythm as the characters reach maturity and start to develop their own adult approaches to life.

Widmerpool becomes even more enigmatic and is the centre of a quite bizarre episode at a school reunion. Stringham seems to have let himself go a bit… I’m not sure now that he’s going to last the entire novel. But in terms of plot, the key episode centres around Nick finding his feet in a relationship that the observant would have seen coming from volume 1.

It wasn’t only the characters that I found more mature; Powell seems to have hit his literary stride as the writing reaches a tempo evenly balanced between plot and reflection. This book served up more quotes that I thought were memorable (below) than the first two volumes combined. And look at this for a description of, not the Great Depression, but the current economic crisis:

I put it to you that certain persons, who should perhaps have known better, have been responsible for unhappy, indeed catastrophic capital movements through a reckless and inadmissible lending policy.’


I’m very much looking forward to getting into volume 4 in April.


Once in a way, perhaps as often as every eighteen months, an invitation to Sunday afternoon tea at the Ufford would arrive on a postcard addressed in Uncle Giles’s neat, constricted handwriting.


This far into the book, some of the plot might be revealed. If you want to see the quote, click show


the four of us emerged to take up new positions in the formal dance with which human life is concerned

But descriptions of a woman’s outward appearance can hardly do more than echo the terms of a fashion paper. Their nature can be caught only in a refractive beam, as with light passing through water: the rays of character focused through the person with whom they are intimately associated. Perhaps, therefore, I alone was responsible for what she seemed she no doubt appeared—indeed, actually was—a different woman.

Women can be immensely obtuse about all kinds of things,’ Barnby was fond of saying, ‘but where the emotions are concerned their opinion is always worthy of consideration.’


This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

PROGRESS acceptancep
RATING I’ll not be rating each individual volume of the novel but will give the novel a rating after finishing volume 12.

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