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

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  432 Ratings  ·  56 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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Elaine I am just starting this book. I have read the previous 9 books in this series. I do think that the books should be read in order. There are so many…moreI am just starting this book. I have read the previous 9 books in this series. I do think that the books should be read in order. There are so many characters and they are randomly brought up in various volumes. I think it would be confusing to read without the past history of Nick and his life, family and friends. The story follows the same main characters throughout the first half of 20th Century in England. (less)
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Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Nick Jenkins has the postwar blues. He finds himself after demobilisation adrift in a city dominated by ruined, abandoned houses, reflecting an inner emptiness that somehow has to be filled with something. The title suggests books as a solution, art in general. The actual source of the quote in the text is slightly different, with more of a sexual connotation, a subtle reminder that we also need a sense of humour, especially in troubled times. Borage ("an excellent spirit to repress the fuligino
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Imagination must, of course, select and arrange reality, but it must be for imaginative ends: all too often the role of imagination in this sequence is to funny-up events and people whose only significance . . . is that Powell has experienced them."
- Philip Larkins, in a review of 'Books Do Furnish a Room'


Anthony Powell's 10th book in his 'Dance to the Music of Time' cycle starts with a discussion of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy* and this book (and themes of melancholy and love) r
Diane Barnes
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The years immediately after the war are full of changes for the ones who survived, and a new generation is in the wings. England must have been a sad, gloomy place at that time, with little work to be had, and destruction all over London. This is #10 in the 12 volume series.
Jun 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In the new year, without further compromise, Dickensian winter set in. Snow fell, east winds blew, pipes froze, the water main (located next door in a house bombed out and long deserted) passed beyond insulation or control. the public supply of electricity broke down. Baths became a fabled luxury of the past.

or, if you prefer,

Takes place: winter 45-46 to late autumn ‘47.
Somewhere in here Nick Jenkins has probably entered his fifth decade.
Book published: 1971. Anthony Powell was 65 years old.

Vit Babenco
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The war is over and those who survived try to readjust to peace…
Books Do Furnish a Room turns around literature and books… And, of course, it turns around writers.
“A novelist writes what he is. That’s equally true of mediaeval romances or journeys to the moon. If he put down on paper the considerations usually suggested, he wouldn’t be a novelist – or rather he’d be one of the fifty-thousand tenth-rate ones who crawl the literary scene.”
But first of all the writers are human beings – they have t
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.

Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stuff once again. The Dance continues as peace returns following World War II. Many of the same players appear once again, and a few new ones are introduced to keep things lively. The formidable Pamela makes a number of appearances, and I treasured a wonderful phrase that summed her up, when Nick referred to "Pamela's gladiatorial sex life during the war."

Sadly, only two more books remain to be read, but they must wait for a couple of weeks.
Tom Ewing
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most enjoyable and - after some initial feints - straightforward novels in Powell's sequence, Books Do Furnish A Room keeps a tight focus on the literary world of post-war London, its arc defined by the brief life of left-wing magazine Fission, which the narrator (no great sympathiser) works for as its reviews editor. Fission's most notable contributors are the ever-present Widmerpool, now an MP contributing unreadable articles on economics; and the talented but impecunious novelist X ...more
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
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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)
  • 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)
  • Temporary Kings (A Dance to the Music of Time, #11)
“Trapnel wanted, among other things, to be a writer, a dandy, a lover, a comrade, an eccentric, a sage, a virtuoso, a good chap, a man of honour, a hard case, a spendthrift, an opportunist, a raisonneur; to be very rich, to be very poor, to possess a thousand mistresses, to win the heart of one love to whom he was ever faithful, to be on the best of terms with all men, to avenge savagely the lightest affront, to live to a hundred full of years and honour, to die young and unknown but recognized the following day as the most neglected genius of the age. Each of these ambitions had something to recommend it from one angle or another, with the possible exception of being poor - the only aim Trapnel achieved with unqualified mastery - and even being poor, as Trapnel himself asserted, gave the right to speak categorically when poverty was discussed by people like Evadne Clapham.” 4 likes
“A residuum of the experience was inevitable.” 0 likes
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