Ted's Reviews > A Dance to the Music of Time, Volume 1: Spring

A Dance to the Music of Time, Volume 1 by Anthony Powell
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it was amazing
bookshelves: lit-british, classics, beach-fun-fiction

see comment explanation below

Have now re-read the first of these three novels (A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer's Market, The Acceptance World), on the way (hopefully) to re-reading the whole series. The twelve volumes of Powell's Dance was really one of the reading highlights of my life.

I've written a few words to review Powell's first season of the dance, Spring, more than once. The earliest version had a personal note in it, something like the reconstruction of it as I now recall, which occasioned Comment 1 below:

About ten years ago I was in the process of reorganizing the books in my library. I ran across the four seasons of Powell's Dance, didn't really know what they were, but just put them in the place they should be and continued on. I think I figured they were just more novels I'd acquired at some point and never read, like many others.

After joining Goodreads a few years later, I happened to see Manny's review of Powell's masterpiece. Not too long after I read "Spring". What impressed me immensely about those first three novels was Powell's idea of bringing out the way in which, as we dance our way through time, we only gradually come to know more and more about friends and acquaintances, often in very curious circumstances - a flash of insight caused by someone's casual remark. This struck me as such a beautiful comment on the way people go through life.

A bit later, I got curious about how I had got the books. I offhandedly said something about them to my wife, and she said that they were her books, and that she'd read them. I was stunned. Right now, relating this late at night, with her asleep upstairs, I can't ask - and I can't imagine when she would have read twelve novels by Powell. It seemed utterly out of character for her. She was a scientist, hardly ever read books (novels) for pleasure, read newspapers, scientific journals, but novels??? Twelve by one author?

And, I should point out, at that time we'd been married at least forty years, and I'd known her since we were five years old.
That was the experience that occasioned comment #1 below.

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Previous review: City David Macaulay
Random review: Invitation to the Dance that's this dance!
Next review: Pablo Picasso A Retrospective

Previous library review: A Dance to the Music of Time the whole thing
Next library review: At Lady Molly's #4 in the series
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Reading Progress

December 19, 2011 – Shelved
January 15, 2012 – Shelved as: lit-british
February 24, 2012 – Started Reading
February 24, 2012 –
page 30
February 24, 2012 –
page 106
14.56% "Two chapters into this dance, and I have a feeling that it's a dance unlike any I've ever done. I see some similarities to H James' stories, but Powell's themes will play out over decades rather than James' shorter tales of psychological twists and turns."
February 28, 2012 –
page 167
March 12, 2012 – Shelved as: classics
March 15, 2012 –
page 231
31.73% "Just finished A Question of Upbringing. What superb writing! I again wondered where the books came from in my library, can't remember ever buying them. I offhandedly asked my wife if she had ever read Powell. "I think so, what's the name of the books?" "A Dance to the Music of Time". "Oh yes, I did read those a long time ago. I thought they were wonderful" Who knew? A Powell moment for me!"
May 29, 2012 –
page 326
September 18, 2012 –
page 368
September 20, 2012 –
page 442
September 21, 2012 –
page 454
September 23, 2012 –
page 472
September 23, 2012 –
page 505
69.37% "Finished A Buyer's Market, which ends thus:
For reasons not always at the time explicable, there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that ... life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity
November 3, 2012 –
page 534
November 5, 2012 –
page 610
November 7, 2012 –
page 674
November 16, 2012 – Finished Reading
July 6, 2013 – Shelved as: beach-fun-fiction

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Manny Indeed a Powell moment, and I am so happy to see you are enjoying them!

message 2: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted And Manny, I remember seeing a comment by you not too long ago that you believed the Powell works to be the best novels you'd ever read. That was why I was keen to give them a go. So Thanks!

Manny Ah, this is what makes Goodreads worthwhile :)

message 4: by Brian (new)

Brian The twelve volumes of A Dance To The Music Of Time are the books that I most re-read. They are so intensely pleasurable.

message 5: by Ted (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ted Well I need to apply myself to get back to reading this. To many books being read simultaneously, and too many other projects tugging at me.

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