Ah…now here’s a volume that can completely stand alone and is, I feel, by far the best so far in Powell’s 12-volume epic A Dance to the Music of Time.
The novel flashes back to Nick’s childhood and memories of the build-up to the First World War. It then moves back to the period just before the Second World War and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything where these two periods are juxtaposed like this. I found the characters introduced here, primarily from Nick’s younger days, to be very memorable both in themselves and also for what they get up to.
But there’s plenty of action among Nick’s adult set too though as they prepare for what looks like the inevitable European conflict. There are a couple of notable deaths and on the whole there’s a better balance between conversation and events than in the previous volumes.
However, there’s no change in the style. Powell still writes with great insight into the human condition and his genius continues with the further development of his vast array of characters. Although I’m only halfway through the novel, I already have a feeling I’m going to miss quite a few of these come December when I plan to finish off the twelfth episode.
No individual ratings for each book in the 12-volume A Dance to the Music of Time. Instead, I’ll rate the entire novel when I’ve finished it.