Books Do Furnish A Room: A Novel (A Dance to the Music of Time #10)
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.”
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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 ...more
- 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 ...more
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
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.
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 ...more
Few authors have been able to paint such a subtle, nuanced, detached picture of what happens as life fades away.
Sadly, only two more books remain to be read, but they must wait for a couple of weeks.
In the absence of such preparation I instead go through the same familiar s ...more
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".