Thursday, August 26, 2021

Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market (1952)


This picks up a few years after A Question of Upbringing.  I guess that's not exactly a shocker.  Ol' Nick is working for some sort of publishing company, although it's pretty vague; certainly not what the book is about.  What IS it about? the beginning we are introduced to a painter named Mr. Deacon (Powell's extensive treatment of artists of various stripes certainly parallels Proust) who was a long-time family friend of the Jenkins,' and at the end, he dies in a bathetic way by falling down the stairs at his own birthday party. 

Read more »

Monday, August 16, 2021

Anthony Powell, A Question of Upbringing (1951)

Here we go, folks!  This is the first in Powell's twelve-book series A Dance to the Music of Time.  I'd been meaning to check this out for a long time, but I feel like I was a little traumatized by reading In Search of Lost Time; the idea of embarking on another massive multi-volume novel filled me with trepidation.  This isn't as long as Proust, but it's not too far off.  Altogether, it's several thousand pages, all told, easily giving it a place on wikipedia's list of the longest novels.  Yeesh.  But you've gotta maintain that adventurous spirit, so I dove in.  And really, I needn't have worried: there are certainly Proustian aspects to this, but this first book at least is A LOT more accessible and...well, fun.

Read more »

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux (1874)

Oh Tony Baloney--I just can't quit you.  So...what's Phineas been up to lately?  Well, in a similar move to the one the author pulled in Barchester Towers, his wife Mary died between the two books, in childbirth (the child died as well, which is too bad--it might have been interesting to see him have to deal with single-fatherhood).  He still has his comfortable government office in Ireland, but his ol' pals in the Liberal Party convince him to come back to England and run for Parliament again.  He does this, and although he loses at first, it turns out that his opponent had engaged in bribery so he's declared the winner.  But as you will perhaps remember, MP was an unpaid position at the time (that STILL seems nuts to me--and before he becomes a duke, Plantagenet Palliser himself is one (in the House of Commons, that is), which renders gibberish the idea that members should have other careers), so he's gunning for a cabinet position so he can even AFFORD to be in politics, and despite the help of various people (notably Glencora Palliser), he's not having much luck.

Read more »