2016: A Dance to the Music of Time discussion

The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3)
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1st Movement > {March} The Acceptance World

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Sunny (travellingsunny) | 49 comments Mod
For discussion or comments about book three...


Renee M | 38 comments Looking forward to this next chapter in Nick's life. :)


Nigeyb The Acceptance World was the moment the series really started to come together for me.

I rated A Question of Upbringing (Volume 1) and A Buyer's Market (Volume 2) as 4 star books. The Acceptance World (Volume 3) is a 5 star read. It's wonderful.

Ten years on from the start of A Question of Upbringing, which starts with narrator Nick Jenkins recounting his last few years at public school, The Acceptance World begins in London in 1931. The recurring characters have all undergone significant change. Some that seemed to have the world at their feet have squandered their gifts, whilst others who were more pitiful in their younger incarnations are enjoying success.

The economic gloom that characterised the 1930s seems to permeate this part of "A Dance to the Music of Time", despite this, The Acceptance World is supremely enjoyable.

This volume introduces a hint of mysticism, a new character called Myra Erdleigh tells Nick's fortune through the ancient practice of cartomancy (reading ordinary playing cards) and, later in the story, there is an incident with a planchette. I'd never heard of them before but apparently planchettes came to prominence in the years following the establishment of Spiritualism in America in the mid-nineteenth century, kick starting a craze for supernaturally tinged parlour games, séances etc. that must have continued into the early 1930s (probably with a resurgence after World War One).

The Acceptance World is certainly the most dramatic volume so far, with a merry-go-round of relationship changes. No sooner do two disparate characters meet than a possible change in relationship status is in the offing.

As I work through the series, it is becoming clearer how some of what happens in the early stages, sets up the Dance as we move forward in time. This is making the series progressively more enjoyable, rewarding and compelling. I raced through The Acceptance World such was the pleasure it gave me. I've enjoyed all of the first three volumes however this has been the most enjoyable so far.

I encourage anyone who starts the series, and is unsure about whether to commit, to stick with it. It becomes ever more enjoyable and rewarding.

My other tip is to refer to AnthonyPowell.org where there are lists that help the reader to keep track of who is who, along with a synopsis of every volume, and interesting and insightful essays.


message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I agree, Nigeyb, that the 3rd vol. is even better than the previous two. I didn't start Dance until the beginning of Feb but just carried on with vol. 3 as I was really getting into it. I'll try to keep to schedule from now on.

There is certainly a lot of coupling & decoupling going on in this volume so I decided to get a copy of Spurling (from the library) to help me keep track of who's who. I'd recommend this book but you do have to be careful not read too much or you'll come across spoilers.


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Anyone know anything about the book called The Lady that seems to have a prominent place in the beginning of this book?


Diane Barnes Thanks for the comment, Nigeyb, now I'm looking forward to this one even more. I have to make myself wait in between books, but I actually think it's better that way.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments Here is the link for those unfamiliar with the Tranby Croft case mentioned in chapter 3 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_b...


message 8: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I liked the description of Uncle Giles's accomodation:
On most of the occasions when I visited the Ufford, halls and reception rooms were so utterly deserted that the interior might almost have been Uncle Giles's private residence. Had he been a rich bachelor, instead of a poor one, he would probably have lived in a house of just that sort: bare: anonymous: old-fashioned: draughty: with heavy mahogany cabinets and sideboards spaced out at intervals in passages and on landings; nothing that could possibly commit him to any specific opinion, beyond general disapproval of the way the world was run.
Poor ol' Uncle Giles.


message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments Teresa wrote: "Anyone know anything about the book called The Lady that seems to have a prominent place in the beginning of this book?"

I believe it's an early women's magazine - see Wikipedia page. It's still going.


message 10: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Jonathan wrote: "I believe it's an early women's magazine - see Wikipedia pag..."

Ah, so not a book. Well, the text did say 'copies' and I just assumed ... Thanks, Jonathan.


message 11: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I just started tonight and the description of Uncle Giles' accommodations is really so good...Dickensian, to my mental eye. It reminds me of Pip's lodgings though undoubtedly better. And the link to the Spiritualism of the time is interesting. I'd thought of this as having died off earlier in very early 1900s.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments I am enjoying Nicholas' musings on the positive and negative emotions of being in love. So real but I don't think I have ever read anything like that before.


message 13: by Teresa (new)

Teresa I liked the meta-fictional musings of Nick/Powell on writing characters -- Nick wondering how he'd write of an English person, such as Members, versus a character who isn't (such as the family Nick's observing in the Ritz), which of course Powell has written.


Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments I have only started this morning, but I got right back into the groove of Powell's magical writing, with that image of the hotel like a shipwreck from a Conrad story.


Ishita | 3 comments I lagged behind a little in this group so I'm still in the second book but I plan to complete it this week and start the third next. I'm really liking the second book! It's better than the first one. And by the looks of it, it only gets better!

Your comment has me really intrigued and that link helps a lot. I've been struggling to remember all the characters or where they first appeared and the links. Lol.

But I am really loving this series. It's like non I've read before and it's impossible to keep it down. I'll try to keep on schedule from next month too.


Diane Barnes Powell does a good job at his perception of the thought processes of Nick. You can see how it gains maturity with each book, and how he sees the disintegration of the friends he used to idolize.


Ishita | 3 comments Yes, while Nick's character has grown over the course of just the 2 books I've known him for, I feel Stringham's character has gained more depth. He quite fascinates me. Wimberpool is also quite interesting. He has grown so much in a confusing way I can't decide if he's gone wise or vain. Whatever may be the case, I like watching him go about like he does!


Diane Barnes I've got about 50 pages remaining to be read in this one, and while Widmerpool has been mentioned, he hasn't made an appearance yet. I miss him.


Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments Wait for it. He will arrive in all his special glory.


message 20: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I'm enjoying this 3rd book very much. About 80 pages in and I think it shows a maturing writing style. I loved his musings on writing about the English too.


Renato (renatomrocha) | 25 comments I might finish Vol. 3 tonight... I'm really enjoying it but for some reason so far the Dance has not swept me off my feet... I wonder if the subsequent volumes will... still plan to read all 12 volumes but hoping for that extra punch!


message 22: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Renato wrote: "I might finish Vol. 3 tonight... I'm really enjoying it but for some reason so far the Dance has not swept me off my feet... I wonder if the subsequent volumes will... still plan to read all 12 vol..."

I'm feeling the same way, Renato, though I see flashes and that will keep me reading too.


message 23: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments While I'm not swept away, I am finding myself much more engaged in this third book. And I'm definitely committed to the entire series. I actually ordered the three other books yesterday.


message 24: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I'm finding Dance a lot better than I'd thought it would be and vol. 3 was the best so far. The characters are all starting to become more three-dimensional as we're learning more about them. I hope we get to know more about Uncle Giles.


Diane Barnes Uncle Giles does seem to be an important character, although he's always in the background. I finished this morning, and agree; these first three books get us to a place of maturity and a place in the real world for the people we met in school, through Nick. The first paragraph of Chapter 5 sums it all up very nicely. I'll just quote the last sentence here.
"Besides, in another sense, the whole world is The Acceptance World as one approaches thirty; at least some illusions discarded. The mere fact of still existing as a human being proved that."


message 26: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Diane wrote: "Uncle Giles does seem to be an important character, although he's always in the background. I finished this morning, and agree; these first three books get us to a place of maturity and a place in ..."

I'm wondering if Uncle Giles is mostly there for comparison purposes, as Nick uses him quite a bit that way.


Diane Barnes I've wondered that too, Teresa, but why? Is Nick using him as a warning to himself not to become like him, unloved and alone? Or is he there as an example of the past and the older generation of NC ' s parents? Either way, I feel sorry for him every time he appears.


message 28: by Teresa (last edited Mar 07, 2016 11:21AM) (new)

Teresa Diane wrote: "I've wondered that too, Teresa, but why? Is Nick using him as a warning to himself not to become like him, unloved and alone? Or is he there as an example of the past and the older generation of NC..."

I think a lot of the 'why's may be answered later. This doesn't seem to be a work that gives up its 'secrets' quickly.

I can't say I feel sorry for Uncle Giles; he seems to me to be one of those people who has created a lot of his own problems, but always his blame is on someone or something else. I think he would be dissatisfied with life no matter what happens.


message 29: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Uncle Giles is one of those people who sort of irritates me. Everything is centered on them and your existence is really to forward whatever they are looking for at the moment. Nick is a conduit to family funds and knowledge apparently. I wonder if Uncle Giles sees him in any other way really.


Cynthia Dunn | 3 comments My favorite of the three.


message 31: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Have to agree, Cynthia. The writing and the story are really coming together.


message 32: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 12 comments I hate to say it but it is March 17th - St. Patrick's Day and I am sipping a new Larry Brown Ale and just now reading this book . I am excited to get to this one . I love this series and I will probably finish this up tonight . Can't wait for more Widmerpoole !

Dawn


Sunny (travellingsunny) | 49 comments Mod
Jonathan wrote: "Teresa wrote: "Anyone know anything about the book called The Lady that seems to have a prominent place in the beginning of this book?"

I believe it's an early women's magazine - see Wikipedia pag..."


Maybe that's why Nick got the impression that Myra Erdleigh may or may not be living with Uncle Giles. A reasonable assumption if there were multiple, well-thumbed copies of a woman's magazine lying around the bachelor pad...


message 34: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Travelling Sunny wrote: "Maybe that's why Nick got the impression that Myra Erdleigh may or may not be living with Uncle Giles. A reasonable assumption if there were multiple, well-thumbed copies of a woman's magazine lying around the bachelor pad..."

I've sent the book back to the library, so I can't check for sure, but I believe Uncle Giles lives in a hotel and those issues of the magazine were in the lobby. But, yes, still a good assumption that there are women living (or visiting) there with those periodicals around.


Sunny (travellingsunny) | 49 comments Mod
Just finished chapter 2 in which Nick supped with Peter, Jean, and Mona. Jean and Mona described the film they'd just seen, and Peter teased Nick for not knowing it was about lesbians.

This minor comment that seems to have not really meant anything in the context of the larger story is niggling at the back of my mind. This isn't the first time that lesbianism or homosexuality was mentioned as an aside in the story, though I can't for the life of me remember when.

I wonder if this subject will in some way tie in to all of the allusions that Nick makes about future knowledge...


Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments Travelling Sunny wrote: "Just finished chapter 2 in which Nick supped with Peter, Jean, and Mona. Jean and Mona described the film they'd just seen, and Peter teased Nick for not knowing it was about lesbians.

This minor ..."


"Curiosity makes the world go round" is one of Nick's maxims from the next volume, and the subject will crop out again. There are some inferences about boys getting in trouble at school in the first book, but nothing spelled out clearly. Same sex relationships are for Nick just one more example of the infinite variety of human relationships and emotions, and part of the Acceptance World he learns to take as it is and be a part of,


message 37: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Teresa wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "I believe it's an early women's magazine - see Wikipedia pag..."

Ah, so not a book. Well, the text did say 'copies' and I just assumed ... Thanks, Jonathan."


I remember from Downton Abbey that ladies advertised for new maids in it.


message 38: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I finally finished the first movement. I really like the writing, but am still not as engrossed and fascinated as many seem to be. I do agree that the 3rd book was better than the first 2. Well on to the 2nd movement.


message 39: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated" wrote: "I finally finished the first movement. I really like the writing, but am still not as engrossed and fascinated as many seem to be. I do agree that the 3rd book was better than the first 2. Well on ..."

Though I enjoyed the 1st movement, I felt that way about it too, Kirsten.

I thought the 2nd movement was truly fine.


message 40: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Kirsten, I would agree with Teresa. The 2nd Movement just kept getting better and better and I am now enjoying the 3rd also.


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