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Parade's End

(Parade's End #1-4)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  5,487 ratings  ·  483 reviews
In creating his acclaimed masterpiece Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford wanted the Novelist in fact to appear in his really proud position as historian of his own time . . . The 'subject' was the world as it culminated in the war. Published in four parts between 1924 and 1928, his extraordinary novel centers on Christopher Tietjens, an officer and gentleman- the last English T ...more
Paperback, 836 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1928)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Starting Parade's End is a little like reading an ethnologist's report from some alien world. All the characters, in this vision of pre-1914 England, seem to be moved by obscure impulses and constraints; and in many ways they appear more unfamiliar than, let's say, characters of a century earlier as described by someone like Austen. The feeling passes, but it is no accident: part of Ford's argument is that the First World War spelled the end not just for a generation of young men but for a whole ...more
Violet wells
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was expecting a masterpiece; what I got was a neurotic obese windbag of a novel. VS Pritchett, always an astute critic, remarked that confusion was always Ford’s mainspring as a novelist. This novel is so hysterically confused it reads like a diary of someone chronicling his own nervous breakdown. At one point in the novel a character forms the thought that her companion is still droning on with an idea she thought they had got past. I can’t say how many times I thought this same idea while re ...more
Sep 22, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jan-Maat by: Ilse
It has been on my mind to read Parade’s end since I was in my late teens, still at school, doing my English Literature A-Level. I think I have said before that I am slow. At that time I certainly read The Good Soldier almost certainly because our teacher Mrs P. mentioned it in the context probably of To the Lighthouse on account of it’s use of stream of consciousness.

I don’t know yet if it was worth the wait, but I feel that Parade’s End is the kind of book that you can turn round after finishin
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to start reading this great First World War novel after seeing the start of the BBC adaptation, but then became caught up by the book and fell behind with watching the TV version. It's a hard book to describe, the tale of an upper-class English family falling apart in and around the war. In particular, it is the tale of the 'Last Tory', Christopher Tietjens, the two women in his life, wife Sylvia and true love Valentine, and his struggle to stay true to his stubborn traditions as the w ...more
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderfully rewarding read, although at times the story seems impenetrable, but stay with it as the book will become a personal favourite, that repays frequent revisits.

The beguiling, irresistible and utterly compelling, Sylvia Tietjens is described, ' immensely tall, slight… reddish, very fair hair in great bandeaux right over her ears. Her very oval, regular face had an expression of virginal lack of interest such as used to be worn by fashionable Paris courtesans a decade before tha
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modernism, uk, on-war
Ever since reading Constellation of Genius by Kevin Jackson I was fascinated by the fact that Ford Madox Ford was, to lift the phrase from The L-Word, a major hub; I even considered rereading the book to draft a graph showing all of his intellectual connections. While he didn’t sleep with everyone who mattered he clearly knew, in person or by correspondence, everyone worth knowing in the modernist writing circles. I already knew, and wasn’t floored by, The Good Soldier, I knew of the troublesom ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Reading this (consisting of four books: "Some Do Not...", "No More Parades," "A Man Could Stand Up--," and "The Last Post), for me, was like chewing a single piece of gum for a month. It is not unreadable or incomprehensible. It's in English, originally in English (can't blame any faulty translation), and the characters are even English. But they talk differently. They act differently. Their motivations are hard to grasp. Like they're in a dream, their movements come in hazy sequences. The plot ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Amazing insight into British society and the English mind around WW1. I read this for one of my MA classes (and re-read for an essay and then re-read yet again) and since have read several others books by Ford, a forgotten great hopefully coming back to the forefront with the new BBC/HBO miniseries, though I think this book is too difficult for most casual readers that will come to it from the miniseries. The time shifts are initially confusing, but when one lets yourself go (I think the confusi ...more
Mark Hinton
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“…there are not many English novels which deserve to be called great: Parade’s End is one of them.” ~W.H. Auden

When I was in college, I had to make a choice one semester between taking Romantic Literature or Victorian Literature. Knowing just enough about everything to get myself into trouble, I chose to take Victorian Literature. Romantic poetry did not sound like something a Montana kid grown up on Hemingway would want to read. Only much later, years and states away, would I discover how wrong
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy novel to read not by any means. This is the story of Christopher Tietjens a man quite out of step with the times and with those closest to him. An interesting character in his own right although quite overshadowed by his manipulative and spoilt wife Sylvia.

Found that the novel did lag in places however the descriptions of life in the trenches and the physical and psychological impact of the Great War to be compulsive reading. The characters were constrained and at times understated
Genia Lukin
Jun 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I found this book to be a fantastic slog. It had been so difficult for me to read, in fact, that I found myself trying to skim, and resisting, just barely.

I suppose part of the problem must have been the unmatched expectations I've had for this humongous doorstopper. I've heard of it as 'an epic tale of WWI'. But in reality, it was more involved with two people trying to outdo each other in the amount of suffering they could cause. I found the endless digging in the machinations and idiotic move
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When it was time to finish the last section of this brilliant book, I bought myself a bottle of sparkling cava to celebrate and cried like a baby.

And by 'end', I mean the end of A MAN COULD STAND UP (a phrase which now makes me shout 'ON A BLEEDIN' 'ILL!!!' and then cry)...

I took a few more weeks to decide whether or not to read "Last Post". I did, and... cor. Well. I see what the rest of the internet means. Christopher Tietjens is absent from the majority of the book. You get far more narration
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939) was an English novelist, editor, and critic who lived in the UK, France, and the US. Perhaps his best known and most read novel is The Good Soldier. A giant of modernism, his monumental novel Parade’s End combined four shorter novels, each of which became one part of the larger whole. These included, in order, Some Do Not…, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, and Last Post. At first Parade’s End was published as a trilogy, excluding the last novel, but Ford later i ...more
Helena Fairfax
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. So brilliant, in fact, I find it hard to describe why I LOVE it so much! The author evokes the emotions of his characters with unique brilliance, using a stream of conscious style of writing to describe inner dialogue, so that we feel exactly what each character feels, especially at moments of great stress. Not only this, but the characters themselves are infinitely well-drawn and their actions believable, totally sympathetic and consistent throughou ...more
Adrian White
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite the most singular book I've ever read. Modern. Post-modern. Pre-modern. So many times I had absolutely no clue as to what was going on and yet I stuck with it for over 800 pages. Now I see where Graham Greene came from. A masterpiece; an infuriating masterpiece.
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I can't decide whether to give this book 2 stars or 4. Ultimately it does succeed as a powerful story of the effects of the Great War on English society. Instead of the sweeping narrative of the typical war novel, FMF takes his story completely inside the characters' heads, looking at society and war in the microcosm, an approach that must be respected.

And yet. I did not enjoy reading it. The third book does finally portray a good bit of the misery and danger of the trenches and the front lines
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel has touches of genius but is at its core deeply flawed, an example of execution failing to match talent or intent. There are parts that come alive - in particular, anything involving Sylvia, who is monstrous but also fascinating and even strangely relatable. But the war sections drag and while I understand and appreciate modernist techniques, perhaps I didn't care enough Christopher Tietjens to put the effort into truly focusing on those chapters. The final book feels like it is entir ...more
Lucy Barnhouse
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant, sprawling book, unusually combining inventive modernist prose with a mingled nostalgia and hopefulness. I'm still processing what I think of it, but it's an eloquent and poignant exploration of the anxieties of England's gentry, and the genteel poor, in the years surrounding the First World War.
This book is a tetralogy composed by the following books: Some Do Not (1924), No More Parades (1925), A Man Could Stand UP (1926) and Last Post (1928).

Even if these four novels have been reissued in 1948, after Second World War, the first omnibus version was published by Knopf in 1950.

It is interesting to find out that I have the same opinion as stated by Graham Greene: "an afterthought which he (Ford) had not intended to write and later regretted having written.” In addition, "...the Last Post
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“At the beginning of the war…I had to look in on the War Office, and in a room I found a fellow…What do you think he was doing…what the hell do you think he was doing? He was devising the ceremonial for the disbanding of a Kitchener battalion. You can’t say we were not prepared in one matter at least…. Well, the end of the show was to be: the adjutant would stand the battalion at ease; the band would play Land of Hope and Glory, and then the adjutant would say: There will be no more parades…. Do ...more
Beth Bonini
I usually try to stick to a policy of only reviewing novels that I have 'recently' (meaning days, or weeks at most) read, but I'm going to make an exception in this case. Having loved the BBC production, with Benedict Cumberbatch as protagonist Christopher Tietjens, I wanted to read the novel in order to fill in the gaps and details that I felt I might not have grasped. (Do other people do this? My typical response, after watching a film adapted from a novel, is to want to read the novel.) After ...more
Emilia Barnes
If you Google Image search and type in "stiff upper lip gif", the first two images you will find are:

This is Benedict Cumberbatch playing Parade's End's main character, Christopher Tietjens.

Anyway, full confession, I did not read the last volume, called the Last Post, of this tetralogy. I had every intention of reading it, but:

a) By the time I came to the ending of A Man Could Stand Up (view spoiler) I just couldn't bear to see the story go
Rick Slane
All Quiet on the Western Front, The Forsyte Saga If you liked these books and the tv series "Downton Abbey" and have a lot of patience you may like this series. ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected! I decided to read the books before the BBC miniseries came out, and I'm really glad that I did. Ford has created a wonderful character in Christopher Tietjens - noble to a fault, stubborn, fiercely smart, stiff and ponderous on the outside and a big teddy bear on the inside. You love him even when you want to slap him and tell him he's messing it all up. His wife Sylvia is fascinatingly manipulative, and even though she's one of the most genuinely terri ...more
Lady Mayfair
"He had a rule: never think on a subject of a shock at the moment of a shock. The mind was then too sensitised. Subjects of shock require to be thought all year around. If your mind thinks when it is too sensitised, its then conclusions will be too strong."

This book is a gem: a war novel with little to no war, Ford dives deep into this reasoning process, of the last true Tory, using semi-neurotic streams of consciousnsess to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the m
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My excuse is that the Ford Madox Ford novel on the list for my comprehensive exams as a senior in college was The Good Soldier. It was a solid WWI novel, as I recall, and that's all I recall except the distinctive name--Ford Madox Ford. So I didn't know that I didn't know about his quartet of novels, Parade's End, until I was browsing used books in Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill and came upon all 900 pages of four novels published separately but ultimately bound together into one huge, wonderful, ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
The classic that no one has ever heard of. My professor urged us to make others read Parade's End so that it stays in print- so go read it! Technically I haven't finished it yet since we only had to read three of the four books for my class, but I will complete The Last Post soon.

Parade's End follows the singular Christopher Tietjens and his experiences of World War I. Tietjens is nothing if not unique, and I think it's worth reading the novel simply to meet him. Maybe I'm biased since I frequen
It took me incredibly long to get through this book and it wasn't an easy or particularly enjoying read. I totally agree with Julian Barnes who said "Ford knows more and sees deeper".

I found some aspects of Ford's explorations of human behaviour really interesting but it's painfully obvious to the reader that he was an incredibly detail-oriented person and to me it seems through this work, he enjoyed showing off his broad knowledge and intelligence. But honestly, do I really have to care about h
Rebecca Wilson
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, british
I loved these four novels more than I ever thought possible. Well — I loved the first three; I was on the fence with the fourth. Like many, I found the fourth superfluous and a bit irritating, but ultimately worth it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how farcically funny and romantic these novels are. I loved the relationship between Christopher Tietjens and Valentine Wannop; though politically at odds, they are intellectually and emotionally aligned, a team of two surrounded by violence and superfi
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What is your opinion 1 2 Aug 17, 2018 09:09AM  
Reading 1001: Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford 1 9 Mar 25, 2016 07:16AM  
Aftermath... 1 13 Jul 25, 2015 07:14AM  
Bright Young Things: Ford Madox Ford 13 33 Oct 14, 2013 01:23PM  

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Ford Madox Ford, born Ford Hermann Hueffer, was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature.

Ford Madox Ford was the author of over 60 works: novels, poems, criticism, travel essays, and reminiscences. His work includes The Good Soldier, Parade's End, The R

Other books in the series

Parade's End (4 books)
  • Some Do Not...
  • No More Parades
  • A Man Could Stand Up
  • The Last Post

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