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At Lady Molly's (A Dance to the Music of Time #4)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  321 ratings  ·  36 reviews
The fourth novel in Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 3rd 2005 by Arrow (first published 1957)
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[The following passage was discovered in 2007 in an early draft of Anthony Powell's novel At Lady Molly's. It was presented at a joint meeting of the Anthony Powell and Sigfrid Siwertz societies held earlier this month in Stockholm, where it was the occasion for considerable debate.]

I suddenly realised that the person talking with Sir Magnus was General Conyers, whom I had not seen in over a year. I scanned his face anxiously - at that age, senility can set in with terrible suddenness - but he s
At Lady Molly's is volume four of the A Dance to the Music of Time series and is Anthony Powell, yet again, at his best.

Once again, I cannot praise the A Dance to the Music of Time series highly enough. It's deliciously addictive and an absolute pleasure to read. Imagine, if you will, the best of Evelyn Waugh when he's dealing with a large number of disparate characters (e.g. Sword of Honour and Brideshead Revisited), and following some of your favourite characters from these books throughout t
OK, I still love this series (it's gorgeously written LOL British soap opera crack) but the narrator's refusal to discuss the dramas in his own life--an affair! an engagement!--at length, blow-by-blow, instead opting for minute focus on Widmerpool or some new or hitherto obscure minor character, is positively maddening. He is as socially devious as he accuses Lady Warminster of being, always collecting gossip but never revealing more than he must to get the next crumb. This is of course not enti ...more
This fourth book in the series takes place two years after the third. The narrator, Nick Jenkins, who has in the meantime written a couple of novels, is now working as a screen writer in the film industry, not a job that he particularly enjoys but a job nonetheless. The appearance of General Conyers and his family introduces a whole additional set of characters that we have not previously met, but many old faces remain. Widmerpool, for example, as one of the most persistent characters in the ser ...more
Lars Guthrie
Widmerpool is the glue holding 'Dance to the Music of Time' together as I finish a third of the twelve volume series. He literally stumbles onto the scene in the first book, and much of 'At Lady Molly's' is devoted to his farcical engagement to an older and wilder woman. Even though I was a bit let down that Powell fast forwarded past his narrator's affair with Jean Templer, this is what the series is all about: minor characters nearly intruding into the narrative landscape and establishing a mo ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
At the end of the first season of Powell's "monumental" novel, A Dance to the Music of Time, I stated that each book was getting better. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy At Lady Molly's very much, and I'm going to try to pin it down. I believe the main reason is that Jenkins reverts back to his observer role, whereas he had finally become much more of an active character in the last book. Herein, everything revolves around Widmerpool's strange engagement to a woman much older than him (and much mo ...more
Todd Martin
I have no idea how I came to read At Lady Molly’s. I suspect I found it on someone’s list of best books. At any rate, it’s a 20th century British drawing room tale centered on the subject of marriage. The book is billed as a comedy, but only in the sense of aristocrats milling about making dry, and somewhat clever remarks.
And more parties and more people meeting up and more gossip...
Principally a book about clan relations, At Lady Molly's focuses on the Tolland clan and its connected set of marriages, divorces, engagements, disengagements, widows, and widowers. For me, as a person mostly interested in reading about more intimate human relationships, I found the book entertaining but could never remember who was who.

Who's who is pretty much what the whole book is about, however, so that left me in the lurch; I'd love to discuss the book's spin on various weighty matters, su
Webster Bull
I am currently on volume 7, The Valley of Bones, but am posting the same review on each of the first six volumes, and will update as I move forward. Here's my impression so far of Powell's 12-volume Dance to the Music of Time:

Cleaning out my attic recently, I came across a four-foot file box stuffed with drafts of a book I once almost wrote. I had all but forgotten it. The book was a memoir of my early life with a theatrical troupe, a memoir I never finished for reasons beyond my control. Still,
David Mcangus
This entry highlighted something I had previously missed when reading this series: Jenkins is a bit of a bore. It therefore became apparent that the success of each book's plot largely comes down to the characters who surround Jenkins. In this particular entry, the introduction of new characters coupled with Nick's increasingly detached personality, made it difficult to invest in what was going on.

When I say Jenkins is a bore. I mean to say that, unlike the previous books, it struck me how eage
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 1999.

For the fourth novel in Dance to the Music of Time series, first of the second trilogy, we once again jump ahead a few years, to 1934, with the narrator Nick Jenkins now around thirty. His affair with Jean Templer over, Nick is earning a living writing scripts for cheap British films, made to allow cinemas to fulfil "the Quota". (At this time, British cinemas had to show the same number of minutes of British films to match the crowd-pulling Hol
At Lady Molly’s by Anthony Powell

This is a wonderful, exhilarating, great book. Anthony Powell was a name unknown to me just a few years ago. Today he is one of my favorites, in my top ten favorites with Proust, Maugham, Salinger, and Faulkner…
After the first installments in this great treat: A Question of Upbringing, a Buyer’s Market and The Acceptance World, I have read and was thrilled by At Lady Molly’s. This is exquisite, refined, humorous, deep, entertaining beyond my capacity to put it i
My third (or fourth?) time through the series. This time, I was struck how a seemingly random group At Lady Molly's turn out to be just the right new set to move Nick from endless dating to marriage. Of course, other than the "facts" of seeing Isobel, falling in love with her, and getting engaged, we learn nothing of Nick's inner experience or his interaction with Isobel. But, the swirl of dancers in the Dance reveal all we need to know of courtship in the 1930's in Nick's "set." As always, Widm ...more
I continue to plow my slow way through ADTTMOT, and finished the fourth volume yesterday. It would be much too ambitious of me to try to summarize, and there's a quotable line on at least every third page, so I'll confine myself to one snipped.

The General, an absolutely classic British gentleman type, more interesting than you'd ever expect and full of modesty about his interests ("'No point in an amateur like myself being dogmatic about something he knows little or nothing about'"), tells Nicho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
AT LADY MOLLY'S, the fourth in Anthony Powell's 12-volume sequence "A Dance to the Music of Time", is something of a step backwards after the preceding novel THE ACCEPTANCE WORLD. Though we are now in the mid-1930s when Hitler has come to power in Germany and the Soviet Union is flexing its might, Powell's characters focus more inwardly on the foibles of aristocratic dinners.

As the novel opens, narrator Nicholas Jenkins encounters the eponymous Lady Molly, whose home draws an amusing variety Eng
Taking on a 12-book series is a bit daunting at first---but also exciting as you immerse yourself in the world of the novels. I've just completed the fourth book in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time series and feel like a time-traveller who emerged in Britain in the late 1920's and early 30's.

For me, the way to enjoy these books is to really place myself within them---and Powell allows you to do that. Effortlessly. As the narrator travels to spend a country weekend with a some-time f
A Dance to the Music of Time number 4, and possibly the most complete stand-alone novel of the bunch so far. Certainly, the jaundiced figure of Widmerpool looms large in a wonderful comic portrait, engaged as he is to a somewhat flighty older woman, Mildred. Lady Molly's husband Jeavons also makes his bow, as Jenkins joins him on the fag end of a pub crawl. Quiggins and Mona's utopian left wing existence is further disrupted by the aristocratic down and out Erridge. While Nick Jenkins the narrat ...more
Kim Stallwood
I started reading this book in early October and finished it on Christmas Eve. It took a ridiculously long time because life kept getting in the way, including a three week trip to the USA. So, what lingers is not so much the plot -- it's part of Powell's Music of Time series -- but the writing style. Writers begin with Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf and much else that I read is pale in comparison. Powell, however, is good and better than most but not as good as Austen and Woolf. So, it's Powell ...more
Perhaps the most forgettable, for me, of the four volumes so far.Having nearly completed two more memorable volumes since finishing this one off, I had to go back to the web to remind myself of exactly what took place.

Marriage is in the air for a few key characters and Nick reflects on that quite a bit. There’s also a fairly dramatic dissolution of a marriage as well.

Overall however, this is more about discussions between characters than events that occur. There are long stretches of conversatio
The 4th book in Powell`s a Dance to the music of time Opus. Covers the early adult phase of Jenkins and the usual suspects. For me these books require a special frame of mind, nothing much happens during the swirl of parties and dinners the main character attends. All the characters are emotionally repressed in an english bohemian upper class way which I have to assume actually existed in a particualr time period. I found it really enjoyable once I was a little zen, was able to devote substantia ...more
"This fourth volume of The Music of Time is the most amusing and most completely successful novel in the series. Comparisons with Proust under-rate his originality...Observant, ruthless and gay, the novel is both entertaining and as disquieting as The Waste Land."
"The most significant work of fiction produced in England since the last war."
I need say no more. You must read them for yourselves, and find out why these words of praise are so true.
Except for seven, no words are required.
The further into this series I get, the more I like it. I will probably rate the series overall as 5 stars, even though I'm giving the individual books only 4. There is something special about the complete experience that truly is a masterpiece. I'm looking forward to reading a bio of Powell to see how much of this is based on his own life.
The turn of phrase; the banter.
For some reason, this held my attention much more than the previous three. Am I getting sucked toward an event horizon? Or is just better when you can read an entire 40-50 page chapter in a single sitting. Thanks, Vietnam Railways!
2½ stars I don't know why I keep reading this series when I think the books are OK but not great! However, I find that here is a certain growing fascination with the story....
Exceptionally funny and entertaining. Proper book finally! Quite a lot more starts to unfold, as the character begin a new set in life.
Mark Janowiak
I did it! all 4 volumes. Imagine a toned down Proust writing about Evelyn Waugh's charaters and you get an idea of my ordeal
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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)
  • A Buyer's Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2)
  • The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3)
  • 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)
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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