Sunday, October 17, 2021

Anthony Powell, Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (1960)

Well that was slightly better time. What of the name? Well, there was some fusion Italian-French restaurant that then went out of business and was bought by the Chinese restaurant down the block so there you have it.

It takes place in the mid-late thirties, in spite of a longish flashback sequence at the beginning. Several characters go off to fight the Fascists in Spain. The abdication of Edward VIII is on everyone's mind. There are a lot of new characters here, particularly Nick's composer pal Hugh Moreland and his wife Matilda.

You know, I really swing hot and cold with these books: there are parts that draw one in, and parts that...don't. Some of each here. What do you expect? There's an amusing conversation about Casanova himself as Nick and friends are eating at his restaurant. There's also the closest thing to a self-contained character ark that we've seen here, involving a critic named MacClintick and his wife, who hate one another and have an awful marriage, only then she leaves him and he kills himself soon thereafter. All right. This also treats of the death of the novelist St. John Clarke--that's how it ends--who is firmly established here as having been mediocre as heck, if he hadn't been before.

There you have it. I don't know. I'm going to continue the series probably sooner than later, but it's Halloween season, dangit! I want to read some spooky stories! So it's on hold for the time being.


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