Books Do Furnish A Room: A Novel
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Books Do Furnish A Room: A Novel (A Dance to the Music of Time #10)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  220 ratings  ·  25 reviews

A Dance to the Music of Time – his brilliant 12-novel sequence, which chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England.

The novels follow Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and social hurdles that stand between them and the “Acceptance World.”

Published (first published February 15th 1971)
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Manny
As we get older, our stories increasingly become, not about us, but about other people. Here, in the first volume of Winter, Nick begins his transformation into Someone Who Knew X. Trapnel Personally. He hasn't yet seen that this is happening; the realization will dawn on him over the final two books. He doesn't really mind. He's amused by Trapnel, but can't take him very seriously.

Few authors have been able to paint such a subtle, nuanced, detached picture of what happens as life fades away.


James
Sometimes I feel books should come with careful handling instructions. For example only read hemmingway after two shots of rum. The ideal way to read the books in A Dance to the Music of Time would be to retreat to a cottage, equip oneself with an ever replenishing cup of tea and some sort of exhaustive reference work which would have every character in the book and spend the next month reading every single one in series.

In the absence of such preparation I instead go through the same familiar s...more
Realini
Books Do Furnish a Room by Anthony Powell

The Second World War is over by the time we enter the world of this tenth novel of A Dance to the Music of Time. When you start a “series „which will go on for twelve installments you wonder if the author will keep up with the intrigue, the suspense or if the plot will lose intensity and you will eventually get bored. At least I did. And there have been some moments when I was reading novel number six, I guess, when it seemed that interest was not at the...more
Nigeyb
Books Do Furnish a Room (1971) is the tenth of Anthony Powell's twelve-novel sequence A Dance to the Music of Time

Books Do Furnish a Room follows straight on from the preceding trio of war volumes (The Valley of Bones (1964), The Soldier's Art (1966), and The Military Philosophers (1968)) and takes place in the immediate post-war period of 1946 and 1947. It is strange, and informative, to read an evocation of the atmosphere of post-war austerity in England, a period that doesn't appear to featur...more
Ian
Cannot fail to give five stars to the tenth instalment of Powell's magnum opus. Post-War, the civilian literary life reasserts itself, with Jenkins contributing to "Fission", a left-leaning modernist periodical, which numbers Craggs, Bagshaw, Rosie Manasch and the new MP, Kenneth Widmerpool among its backers, and Odo Stephens and the splendid sunglasses-in-winter, Death's-Head-sword-cane, bearded womanising novelist X. Trapnel amongst its contributors. The siren that is Pamela Widmerpool causes...more
Virginia
AP would probably think this a banal sentiment but it's still amazing to me how the years have changed my view of books. When I first read this novel twenty years ago I HATED the character of Pamela Flitton Widmerpool but now I really enjoy her. Maybe it's because she always reminds me of Stringham - not personally - but she's his niece. I wasn't much interested in X. Trapnel or "Books" Bagshaw back then either: they too have become much more interesting.
I love AP's titles of fictional books: 'P...more
g
It's especially fascinating to read about the post-WWII British publishing industry in this installment (Jenkins edits a new literary magazine founded by JG Quiggin and Howard Craggs--rememer them?--with backing from, among others, Widmerpool): some things aren't different a half century and a continent apart (attitudes of publishers, author dramarama, cheap wine at receptions, tension with funders), and some most certainly are (obscenity trials, ability to sabotage a project by destroying the s...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 2000.

The final, postwar, trilogy of A Dance to the Music of Time opens with Books Do Furnish a Room. Nick Jenkins returns to his literary endeavours by researching a book on Richard Burton, author of The Anatomy of Melancholy, at his old Cambridge college. However, he soon becomes involved in a left-wing publishing company, partly financed by Kenneth Widmerpool, now an MP in the new Labour government. He helps to run the short lived literary magazine...more
Bruce
In this, the tenth and antepenultimate novel in Powell’s magnificent series, “A Dance to the Music of Time,” the narrator, Nick Jenkins, has returned to his writing life after the end of World War II, re-encountering old acquaintances at the University, people who have changed considerably. He comments about “the relatively high proportion of persons known pretty well at an earlier stage of life, both here and elsewhere, now dead, gone off their rocker, withdrawn into states of existence they -...more
Lars Guthrie
Number ten in the twelve-volume 'Dance to the Music of Time.' As I approach the end, I feel relief and accomplishment, as well as regret. In 'Books Do Furnish a Room,' World War II is finally over, and to this reader it feels like a weight has been lifted off Powell, as his narrator, Jenkins, can now return to old haunts and those friends and acquaintances who are still alive. This despite a London suffering through an economically depressed post-war funk. The major new character here, X. Trapne...more
Christopher
BOOKS DO FURNISH A ROOM is the tenth novel of Anthony Powell's long sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time". It opens in the winter of 1945/46 as Britain settles back into peacetime, though not without annoying rationing and shortages. Jenkins has come to his old university for research towards a biography on Robert Burton, but soon first himself involved in the launch of a new literary magazine with distinct leftist tones. Indeed, we return to a world of shady politics left behind in the early...more
Nancy
This is book #10 in the series of twelve novels that make up the "A dance to the music of time" saga. The narrator has returned to London following WW2 and resumed work in publishing.

Perhaps the best way to offer insight into this novel--or the entire series--is through the following quote from the book. The narrator is writing on a renouned literary figure who discussed the art of writing in the following way: "Tis not my study or intent to cojmpose neatly . . . but to express myself readily an...more
Judi Moore
Book 10 out of 12, and the standard remains so high! I've loved all the volumes of this novel. Powell is so witty and dry. It really hasn't dated at all. I suppose that's because the manner in which it's written (naturalistic, perhaps?!) so aptly reflects the times its dealing with. It's almost a history lesson, but not quite. One wonders - who was the model for Alaric Kidd, Widmerpool, 'Books' Bagshaw, Sillery. There is a volume that links the fiction to the reality - but that could be too much...more
Liz
The book itself was kinda drab, dull, but within the whole story of 12 books this was okay. Just another weave I suppose..
Laura
“The General, speaking one felt with authority, always insisted that, if you bring off adequate preservation of your personal myth, nothing much else in life matters. It is not what happens to people that is significant, but what they think happens to them.”

---

"Neat, sad, geared perfectly in outward appearance to the sombre nature of the occasion, Tolland stood, head slightly bent, gazing at the damp grass beneath his feet. He had once admitted to having travelled as far as Singapore. One wonder...more
Dave Peticolas
Jenkins returns to civilian life.
Michael Pryor
Nuanced, wry, enigmatic.
David Mcangus
With England coming to terms with the results of the war, The Dance returns to familiar ground and focuses on themes seen in the earlier novels. This is a welcome return. Not only are there new characters brought in that recall the series best of Morton and Stringham, but a lot of veterans in the story also feature. This takes the weight off Jenkins's shoulders and allows the supporting cast to carry the needed depth that was lacking for the last three books.
David
I found the previous volume, set in the latter years of the Second World War, a bit heavy going, but this one was much more readable, funnier and lighter in tone, being set in post-war literary London. Some great scenes involving the pompous-as-ever Widmerpool and a fantastic new character in the shape of Bohemian novelist X.Trapnel.
Rebecca Stuhr
I loved this series, but I love the title of this book. If you saw the BBC dramatization--sadly lacking the humor of the novels. I read this series of novels, the final volumes of which, cover material that hadn't happened when Powell was writing the first volumes... on the recommendation of my good friend Rob Melton.
Kim Stallwood
Really enjoyed. See my comments as I made my way through the book. Powell is a funny and bitchy writer, with the sarcasm on low, which is where I like it. Greatly helped to have watched and enjoyed several times the faithful and excellent telly adaptation.
Deanne
Gradually making my way through the dance, love the gentle pace of this book. Find it strange that Nick never mentions his child by name, not even in casual conversation.
Corey
The 10th novel in his 12-novel cycle, Dance to the Music of Time. They just get better, richer, deeper, the further you go.
Jan Spoelgen
Liked it way better than no.9. TRapnel is surely an interesting character.
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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...
A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1) A Dance to the Music of Time: 3rd Movement A Dance to the Music of Time: 2nd Movement A Dance to the Music of Time: 4th Movement

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