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A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  705 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
The second novel in Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time
Paperback, 274 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Arrow (first published 1952)
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Feb 01, 2016 Kalliope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


And so the Dance continues in its beginnings. The second period interval is still part of the dawn of times. The main contribution with this term is that the dancers begin to acquire shape. They also become much more numerous, and I now begin to fear a multitude, given how poor my memory for names is, when the do not have a face. Luckily I am accompanying my read with an audio version, which appropriately adds the musicality of the human voice to the dance. The brilliant
Jun 30, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
This is the second novel in the Dance to the Music of Time series, following on from A Question of Upbringing. It is set in 1928, when our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is twenty one or two. However, it begins with a flashback to Paris just after WWI, when Nick has a chance meeting with an artist, Mr Deacon, an acquaintance of his parents. This introduction serves the reader to understand the various relationships in Nick’s life, as he meets up with Mr Deacon again after a dinner party at the Walpole- ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016

The second part of the twelve-step dance around time and memory from Anthony Powell picks up the story of his alter-ego, Nicholas Jenkins, a few years after he finishes school and moves to London, probably around 1925. I am grateful to the group read of the Dance for motivating me to keep to the schedule of one book per month, thus keeping things fresh in my mind and offering bonus material in the discussion pages.

Being familiar with the style of presentation and with some of the characters hel
Jan 29, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"It is no good being a beauty alone on a desert island."
-- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market


"For reasons not always at the time explicable, there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that, before we really know where we are, life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we, ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity."
-- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's
May 08, 2014 Nigeyb rated it really liked it
"A Buyer's Market" is the second book in Anthony Powell's twelve novel sequence "A Dance To The Music of Time" and it picks up the narrative in 1928, via a flashback to Paris where narrator Nick Jenkins introduces us to an artist called Mr Deacon.

Nick is now in his early twenties and whilst more grown up, still uncertain of his place in the world. I assume this explains the book's title. Nick and his contemporaries are searching for money, jobs, sex, social status etc. and their search takes th
Nov 21, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it
"A Buyer's Market" takes the narrator, Nick Jenkins, to London in the late 1920s. Much of the novel is set at either upscale parties, or with a group of bohemians that revolve around the artist Mr Deacon.

The title of the book suggests that the parties are a kind of marketplace. People attend the parties to meet marriage prospects and sexual partners. The parties are also an opportunity to make business contacts, the 1920s version of networking. It was important to climb the social ladder by ming
From Wiki:
A Buyer's Market is the second novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time. Published in 1952, it continues the story of narrator Nick Jenkins with his introduction into society after boarding school and university.

The book presents new characters, notably the painter Mr. Deacon and his dubious female acquaintance Gypsy Jones, as well as reappearances by Jenkins' school friends Peter Templer, Charles Stringham and Kenneth Widmerpool. The action takes pla
Oct 14, 2014 Eleanor rated it really liked it
I am quite mesmerised by Anthony Powell's style now that I have got used to it. The long rolling sentences remind me in a way of the themes in Rachmaninov's symphonies, which roll on and on and sweep the listener with them. The following description of one of the characters gives a flavour of Powell's style:

"She dressed usually in tones of brown and green, colours that gave her for some reason, possibly because her hats almost always conveyed the impression of being peaked, an air of belonging t
Diane Barnes
Feb 04, 2016 Diane Barnes rated it really liked it
In book 2, Nick and his school friends are in their 20's, and have entered the real world of work and pleasure. The excellent writing continues, with intimations of complications ahead.
Jul 10, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing
In this, the second novel in Powell’s twelve-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time (and the books absolutely must be read sequentially!), new personages are introduced: Mr. Deacon, Barnby, Barbara Goring, the Walpole-Wilsons; and Widmerpool reappears. The events in the book occur four or five years following those in the previous book, A Question of Upbringing, during which interval Nick has not seen Charles Stringham. In chapter after chapter, indeed in novel after novel, characters and t ...more
Renee M
Jan 18, 2016 Renee M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting to see Nick Jenkins and the other young men from A Question of Upbringing in their 20s in the 20s. Some fascinating new characters emerge. Lots of art and social commentary. But mostly the deliciously wonderful writing that just rolls over the reader in a salty surf of words. :)
Sep 17, 2010 Christopher rated it it was amazing
A BUYER'S MARKET, the second volume of Anthony Powell's 12-volume sequence "A Dance to the Music of Times" is a considerably more ambitious work than the first. While A QUESTION OF UPBRINGING was an enjoyable if something lightweight look back at narrator Nicholas Jenkins' days at school and university, now we see him entering the ballrooms of high society while also discovering the London demimonde of the late 1920s.

The novel is impressive in form also. Nearly the entire first half of the nove
Justin Evans
Jun 10, 2013 Justin Evans rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nothing in the first novel of ADMT really prepares you for this. There you get short introductions to characters, traditional plot movements, transparent prose and above all variety. With A Buyer's Market we're suddenly in the realm of Proust volume three, which is pretty much a party described over hundreds of pages. Say what you will about Powell. This is shorter than Le Côté de Guermantes. I wonder if Marias, anglophile that he is, took as much from Powell as from Proust to write Your Face To ...more
Oct 19, 2009 Hazel rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
I found this more difficult than Book 1 and it's taken me several weeks to finish. I think I've had, at least, two problems. First, I've had great difficulty caring about Powell's characters. I don't need to like them. After all, sometimes the most compelling characters are unlikeable. But so far, I feel quite indifferent to them. (And there are dozens!) Their dialogue is opaque, their motivations murky and their stories meaningless to me. And perhaps that's because what I'm experiencing is cult ...more
Tom Ewing
Aug 30, 2016 Tom Ewing rated it really liked it
Each of the novels of ADTTMOT makes a claim - with varying degrees of conviction - to stand alone, with characters and plots resolved within a single volume. The intricate, lopsided, A Buyer's Market follows two such strands. First, the life of Edgar Deacon, a bad painter and family friend of narrator Nick Jenkins' whose reappearance helps put in motion his escape from the world of balls and debutantes the book opens in. Second, Nick's troubles with women, an overlapping series of largely passiv ...more
Sep 28, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
Avec une acuité, un sens de la précision et de la nuance presque obsessif, qui s'appuie sur moult appositions et circonstants, et qui exige du lecteur une attention de tous les instants, M. Powell, dans la foulée du premier volet de cette longue suite romanesque, propose une forme expressive dont la complexité n'a peut-être d'autre but que d'épouser la complexité des relations humaines dans un milieu fermé comme celui qu'il décrit. Complexité sur l'axe synchronique, mais surtout, aussi, sur l'ax ...more
David Mcangus
Oct 23, 2012 David Mcangus rated it liked it

A logical continuation on from the first book, that sees Jenkins and friends flirt with society life and become rather self reflective because of it. While I'm not quite invested in the characters yet (the story needs come conflict) they are growing on me, but I think the plot needs to expand somewhat before their lives have some context.

It is a better book that the first though: Powell's prose remains a key attraction and I found London society life more interesting that the school days of the
Jun 22, 2014 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is considered an axiom that a writer should have an exciting beginning to a novel to draw readers in and encourage them to continue. Anthony Powell starts with a discourse about a minor, unfashionable artist Nick's parents knew and he met a few times before mentioning Barbara Goring, Nick's first and possibly only serious love. We also know, quite early in the book, that Nick and Barbara's romance does not prosper to a happy conclusion because later he is no longer invited to dine with her un ...more
Vit Babenco
Feb 22, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing
Bohemians and freeloaders, socialites and beautiful people are all in a hurry to partake in the agitated stirrings at the bottom of high society…
“Although these relatively exotic embellishments to the scene occurred within a framework on the whole commonplace enough, the shifting groups of the party created, as a spectacle, illusion of moving within the actual confines of a picture or tapestry, into the depths of which the personality of each new arrival had to be automatically amalgamated.”
Still waiting for the plot to form, but that prose! How can someone weave such deliciously intricate sentences is beyond me.
May 18, 2017 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, extraordinary, sublime, lyrical ... and, well, more of the same....

I recently discovered and (somewhat skeptically) embarked upon Powell's epic series, A Dance to the Music of Time, and - frankly, not really knowing what I was getting into - was quite taken with the first installment.

For better or worse, the second installment - this "book" - was entirely consistent ... a seamless progression through the narrator/protagonist's life (and maturation? discovery? finding his way? disce
Mario Hinksman
Dec 06, 2015 Mario Hinksman rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing
This is a strange book: very readable, and yet very little seems to happen. It's almost as it's setting up a plot that is barely begun when the book rather abruptly ends.
It's a while since I read the first book in the series, which was a bit of a disadvantage, as you keep having to try and refer back to the first book, where possible, to figure out who so and so is; plainly it's someone we should remember from the first episode.
Anyway, those two minor criticisms aside, it's an intriguing narra
Aug 07, 2015 Paola rated it liked it
This for me was rather slow going - I got quickly tired of the parties, of Sillery, of some of the hyperboles, and the main character's apparent detachment from most that is going on around him: he is the narrator who does not seem to add much to an omniscient narrator's voice. I am glad I got this as part of the "movement" set of three volumes, as I might have otherwise let the series go.
Jun 17, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Binge Reading

I didn't know how I was going to read this series. Would I read another book in between each instalment? Perhaps read two in a row, then something else? Three? Halfway through A Question of Upbringing the 'every second book' option was in front -- my attention wavered a little during the French scenes. But by the end of that volume, I knew I had to pick up the next one straight away. And halfway through A Buyer's Market I knew I'd read the whole series as though it was one huge nove
Mar 24, 2017 Colin rated it really liked it
The second volume of Anthony Powell's great roman fleuve is a densely wrought mesh of intense human relationships largely played out at a sequence of parties in the fashionable London society of the late twenties. Characters from the first book pass through the pages of the second and a vast range of new ones make their first appearance; it can be tricky trying to keep up with who is who and how they are related to each other. Powell's writing is extraordinary: highly sophisticated, intense and ...more
Apr 27, 2014 max rated it it was ok
Shelves: library
A Buyer’s Market covers the coupling-up of the English upper-classes leading up to World War II, taking place over the span of several dinner parties, balls, and late nights. While the characters number among a fictive group of Britain’s most privileged, this installment also introduces us to a few players above them, in the form of Magnus Donners, a preeminent businessman; Prince Theodoric, foreign royalty looking for advantage in multiple spheres; and Mrs. Wentworth, an attractive divorcee who ...more
Sep 01, 2013 Jason rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Webster Bull
Jan 21, 2012 Webster Bull rated it it was amazing
This is my second time reading book 2 of "Dance" and this is a follow-up review, posted January 2013. It is a shortened version of my post about the book at "Witness":

I put the book down on finishing "A Buyer's Market" and declared it a masterpiece. Here are some reasons why. Book 2 is a great leap beyond book 1, which seems to be mostly about four "boys" at school. In book 2, they Nick Jenkins enters a much wider world, and although he comes across Templ
Mar 10, 2015 Stenwjohnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Powell's 12-part novel "A Dance to the Music of Time" (1951-1975) is a matter of taste. Unapologetic in its British upper-middle to upper-class fixations, consisting largely of set pieces with minimal guideposts, written in labyrinthine prose, often enigmatic in matters of emotion and motivation, it requires a rare kind of commitment. The first volume, "A Matter of Upbringing" (1951) covers the years 1921-22, where Powell introduces four characters of different backgrounds: Widmerpool, a ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Missing book cover 2 14 Jul 07, 2014 03:58PM  
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Anthony Dymoke Powel CH, CBE was an English novelist best known for his twelve-volume work A Dance to the Music of Time, published between 1951 and 1975.
Powell's major work has remained in print continuously and has been the subject of TV and radio dramatisations. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Powell among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
More about Anthony Powell...

Other Books in the Series

A Dance to the Music of Time (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1)
  • The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3)
  • At Lady Molly's (A Dance to the Music of Time, #4)
  • Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (A Dance to the Music of Time, #5)
  • The Kindly Ones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #6)
  • The Valley of Bones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7)
  • The Soldier's Art (A Dance to the Music of Time, #8)
  • The Military Philosophers (A Dance to the Music of Time, #9)
  • Books Do Furnish a Room (A Dance to the Music of Time, #10)
  • Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)

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“I used to imagine life divided into separate compartments, consisting, for example, of such dual abstractions as pleasure and pain, love and hate, friendship and enmity; and more material classifications like work and play: a profession or calling being, according to that concept—one that seemed, at least on the surface, unequivocally assumed by persons so dissimilar from one another as Widmerpool and Archie Gilbert, something entirely different from “spare time.” That illusion, as such a point of view was, in due course, to appear—was closely related to another belief: that existence fans out indefinitely into new areas of experience, and that almost every additional acquaintance offers some supplementary world with its own hazards and enchantments. As time goes on, of course, these supposedly different worlds, in fact, draw closer, if not to each other, then to some pattern common to all; so that, at last, diversity between them, if in truth existent, seems to be almost imperceptible except in a few crude and exterior ways: unthinkable, as formerly appeared, any single consummation of cause and effect. In other words, nearly all the inhabitants of these outwardly disconnected empires turn out at last to be tenaciously inter-related; love and hate, friendship and enmity, too, becoming themselves much less clearly defined, more often than not showing signs of possessing characteristics that could claim, to say the least, not a little in common; while work and play merge indistinguishably into a complex tissue of pleasure and tedium.” 4 likes
“He gave me a look of great contempt; as I supposed, for venturing, even by implication, to draw a parallel between a lack of affluence that might, literally, affect my purchase of rare vintages, and a figure of speech intended delicately to convey his own dire want for the bare necessities of life. He remained silent for several seconds, as if trying to make up his mind whether he could ever bring himself to speak to me again; and then said gruffly: 'I've got to go now.” 3 likes
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