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