For me, the beginning of three books that make up the war trilogy section of A Dance to a Music of Time was an entertaining read with more of a tendency to farce than any of the previous novels so far. I wondered if this was the result of Powell’s own experience in the war.
Those of you hoping for any action sequences will be disappointed. Nick Jenkins sees no combat service and is, instead, involved in a series of bureaucratic posts that seem, to me at least, interminably dull occupations.
There’s the occasional military exercise to spice things up a bit but, for the most part, this novel in the sequence is most memorably characterised by comic events involving various army personnel. When I say ‘comic’ here, please bear in mind that they might raise a faint smile rather than see you split your sides laughing. Like the narrator he has created, Powell seems far too straight laced to actually be able to make anyone laugh out loud.
The characters plod on. Widmerpool surfaces again (as I believe he does in all 12 novels at some point), this time in the role of a rising star of wartime administration. But several more are introduced often with most ludicrous names. What parents would ever call their son Odo for goodness sake?
|RATING||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.