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The Kindly Ones

(A Dance to the Music of Time #6)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  679 ratings  ·  95 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.”
Paperback, 254 pages
Published (first published 1962)
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Vit Babenco
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Memories of childhood and perturbations of the present…
The Greeks, because they so greatly feared the Furies, had named them the Eumenides – the Kindly Ones – flattery intended to appease their terrible wrath.

But despite the flattery the Kindly Ones stick to their unkindly doings…
The grey, flickering sequences of the screen showed with increased persistence close-ups of stocky demagogues, fuming, gesticulating, stamping; oceans of raised forearms; steel-helmeted men tramping in column; armoured
...more
Ted
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We followed through the door, crossing the hall again, while I wondered what on earth had happened to Templer’s wife to give her this air of having been struck by lightning.




or, if you prefer,

The_Furies_(GoWA)


“Takes place”: 1939.
The first chapter consists of Jenkins’ memories of 1914, when he was a lad of seven or eight and his family were renting Stonehurst, a (fictional) place near Aldershot;
the second chapter, memories of 1928-29, then October 1938;
third chapter, summer 1939;
last chapter, autumn
...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

The god, Mars, approaches the earth to lay waste. Moreover, the future is ever the consequence of the past.

Why would Anthony Powell take us back, in the beginning of the sixth episode of his Dance, all the way to the early childhood of his narrator, Nicholas Jenkins? The answer may be in the quote I have used to open my review. The words are part of the ramblings of a self-appointed holy man/ prophet/ guru, a Dr Trelawney, and serve a dual purpose in forecasting the world going to war (twice,
...more
Diane Barnes
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"One of the worst things about life is not how nasty the nasty people are. You know that already. It is how nasty the nice people can be."

Volume Six starts out by going back to Nick's childhood and the beginning of WWI. It ends with the beginning of WWII, as Nick and his friends and family divulge some secrets and keep others close to the vest. We meet characters that have only been spoken of in earlier volumes, and lose others as time takes its toll. This is a brilliant sequence of novels, and
...more
Nigeyb
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England

In common with the previous five volumes this book is an absolute delight. Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England throughout the twentieth century. What more could a reader wish for?

The shadow of war hangs over "The Kindly Ones" ("A Dance to the Music of Time" Volume 6).

The book opens at the start of World War 1 and closes with the start of World War 2. As
...more
Connie G
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The Kindly Ones" starts with a look back to Nick Jenkin's boyhood just as World War I is starting. Nick learned in his mythology lessons that the Greeks called the Furies the flattering name the Eunenides (or the Kindly Ones) to appease their wrath. The Furies were responsible for the gods inflicting war, dissension, and other maladies on the earth. Nick also remembers a visit from General Conyers and his wife to the Jenkins' home. As they were leaving, Uncle Giles arrived with the news that th ...more
Darwin8u
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
"The Essence of the All is the Godhead of the True."

description

"The Visions of Visions heals the Blindness of Sight."

Is it better to love somebody and not have them, or have somebody and not love them? I mean from the point of view of action -- living intensely. Does action consist in having or loving? In having -- naturally -- it might first appear. Loving is just emotion, not action at all. But is that correct? I'm not sure.
-- Anthony Powell, The Kindly Ones.

Book 6? Done. 2nd Movement? Done. Summer? Fini
...more
Eleanor
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Kindly Ones are the Furies, and in this volume we are reminded that Nick was a child in the First World War, and at the end of the book, the Second has begun. Meanwhile the dance of the many lives intertwined in this brilliant series of novels continues. I liked this observation towards the end of the book:

"One passes through the world knowing few, if any, of the important things about even the people with whom one has been from time to time in the closest intimacy."

The book ends on a seriou
...more
Kim Kaso
This one seems very much a book on the brink. We spend a good deal of time with Nick before the war, before he was in school with his friends, on the brink of WW I. Then we spend the rest of the war as people try and live out their day-to-day lives as Europe moves towards WW II and the inevitable disruption of all their lives and routines. This book felt more passive and distant to me, perhaps reflecting how people were in the run-up to a war that will exceed all their expectations and fears. Ra ...more
Laura
This is the sixth book of a 12 volumes series. Its sequel is "The Valley of Bones."

The novel captures the dying fall of the period between the wars, relating the run up to the Second World War to the circumstances prevailing just before the Great War. Hints abound that the vulnerable are to suffer, just as those driven by force of will begin their advance. Widmerpool is portrayed as one such, and a harbinger of war. As ever, Nick is carried upon the tide of events, whilst seeking to do the honou
...more
Kalliope
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing


6 -- THE KINDLY ONES



The Essence of the All is the Godhead of the True.

The Vision of Visions heals the Blindness of Sight.


These quotes would mean nothing for anybody who has not read the book, while they mean everything for those who have.


**************


In this volume the Eumenides, or Kindly Ones, unleash the Will to Action. War.

Like the previous volume this one interrupts the chronology and we jump back to an earlier time than the beginning. Reading the memories of the Narrator’s early c
...more
Bruce
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title of this sixth book in the series, “A Dance to the Music of Time,” refers to the Furies, the Eumenides. The novel begins with a large jump back in time to Nick Jenkin’s boyhood in about 1914, taking place at Stonehurst, the country residence temporarily occupied by his parents and servants while his father’s regiment is stationed in the area. A whole new cast of characters is introduced, servants primarily, including Albert and Bracey, as well as the charismatic religious fringe figure, ...more
Cynthia Dunn
I loved this volume. Looking so forward to continuing.
Ali
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Kindly Ones is the sixth book in Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time sequence. It is now the late 1930’s, the possibility of war hangs over everyone– but this novel opens with reminiscence taking us right back to the dawn of WW1 and Jenkins’ boyhood. Nick and his family, as sister mother and father, lived then in a large colonial style bungalow on the Stonehurst estate - where they are assisted by three members of staff. It the stories of these three rather odd characters that Jenkin ...more
Jeremy Silverman
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another very fine work that follows Nick Jenkins, the narrator, and his many associates, family members and in-laws up from around the Munich Agreement to the Second World War's beginning. The book opens, however, with an extended remembrance of Jenkins in childhood, living in the country house with his family and their servants and aides just prior to the beginning of the First World War. Thus, this individual book possesses a sort of symmetry and balance, even as it takes us to the halfway mar ...more
Sammy
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"[T]he future is ever the consequence of the past." - Dr. Trelawney

Keats said "a thing of beauty is a joy forever". From some initial trepidation (frankly) about these volumes, I have become a full convert. #6 is set in two different time periods. First, the lonely summer of 1914, as young Nick and his family witness the onset of WWI. And second, the confusing summer of 1939, as Nick and Isobel - the former transitioning from one friend group to another, the latter pregnant again and hoping for
...more
Catullus2
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goes back to his childhood and then into the beginning of WWII. Genius.
Illiterate
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the furies arrive, the spiritual and artistic stutter, men of action take command.
Paola
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This volume opens and close with war: the great war, that closes up the flashback to Nicholas' childhood, and the WWII which is at this stage luring in almost everyone, ready to serve for king and country.

In Nick's childhood home we see more of the “upstairs-downstairs” relationships in a middle class household - not a grand one, that of a military man who can however support a housemaid, a cook, a gardener, a nurse, a parlourmaid and a butler. Yet it is a poor man’s version of the good life, an
...more
Mario Hinksman
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Realini
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Kindly Ones by Anthony Powell

With The Kindly Ones I have reached the middle of A Dance To The Music Of Time, the epic work of Anthony Powell. Why is it called The Kindly Ones?
“The Greeks, because they feared the Furies, had named them the Eumenides, “The Kindly Ones „flattery intended to appease their wrath…”
Even if war is looming over the atmosphere of this volume, the sixth in a long but splendid book, there are hilarious passages. Humor is one of the aspects I like most in Powell’s six v
...more
Nik Morton
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anthony Powell’s sixth volume in his Dance to the Music of Time sequence, The Kindly Ones, was published in 1962 and is the best so far, covering the periods 1914, the late 1920s and the late 1930s.

Possibly it grabs interest because Powell begins by relating Nick Jenkins’s childhood in Stonehurst; this goes some way to personalise the first-person narrative, which hitherto seems to have been lacking in the earlier volumes.

We’re first introduced to Albert, the Jenkins’s manservant/butler, a fasc
...more
Renee M
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this new chapter of Nick's life and observations. I love the way it started with a chapter from his past, from just before WW I, and ended in the period before WW II. Initially, I was confused by the flashback but it proved to be a perfect way to begin. Several new and unique characters appear, and several reappear after long absence. Plus, there are a few revelations that take Nick (and the reader) by surprise. But each is handled beautifully and mined for resonance.

This ma
...more
Ian
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
More of the same from Powell and thank goodness for that. Everyone is jostling for position as war becomes a reality; Uncle Giles' demise leads to a seaside encounter with Bob Duport. All is set in the context of the eponymous Furies, as memories of childhood and thwarted relationships between servants are recalled. There is a marvellous quote on the back cover blurb of my edition to the effect that when you emerge from reading Powell it seems that no one else is writing English any more.
Gregory
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"One of the worst things about life is not how nasty the nasty people are. You know that already. It is how nasty the nice people can be."
Jason
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
As I believe I’ve mentioned before, since I began this reading project, I get asked regularly what book I am reading and what I think of it. Earlier this week, I met a friend for lunch, and as we were leaving, she nodded to the book in my hand and asked what I was reading. “The Kindly Ones, by Anthony Powell,” I said, holding up the book. “Hmm,” she replied, which I took to mean that she had never heard of it (before this list, neither had I). “Is it good?” And for a moment I was stuck on what t ...more
Christopher
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When we last left Anthony Powell's 12-volume work "A Dance to the Music of Time", we were in the late 1930s and steadily approaching the outbreak of the Second World War. THE KINDLY ONES, the sixth novel in the sequence, unexpectedly opens with a flashback to the start of the First. In 1914, Nicholas Jenkins is an eight or nine year-old, living in a rented manor in the countryside where his father is stationed. For some fifty pages, we follow some disputes and love affairs among the family's ser ...more
David Mcangus
Feb 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Change is afoot. This has been true throughout The Dance. But in The Kindly Ones, disorder looms over the characters, both in the form of the increased march towards war and the final goodbye to the last remnants of youth.

Powell seems to focus specifically on the loss of innocence during this instalment. Nick's memories from his early childhood feature here for the first time and paint a picture of eccentric wonder, rendered specifically in the character of Dr. Trelawney. This aspect of British
...more
Mary
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I finally made it through the midpoint of A Dance to the Music of Time. It's a good feeling to have made it this far and even better to know that I still have six more books following the eccentric friends of Nick Jenkins.

I take whatever book I'm reading with me everywhere that I expect to have any amount of free time. Because of this I get people asking me what I am reading. I answer and the natural question is, "I've never heard of it, what's it about?". I find myself unable to give a good an
...more
max
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This sixth installment in the Dance to the Music of Time sequence is the first to really delve into Nick’s childhood, taking a sustained look at the household of his upbringing, including his father’s military manners, the servants and their preoccupations, a few of the neighbors, and the rare visitors to the somewhat inaccessible abode. Honestly, what took Powell so long? Couldn’t some of this material be placed in one of the previous five books?

Nevertheless, if the timing of this backstory se
...more
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Anthony Dymoke Powell 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".

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)
  • 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 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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