2016: A Dance to the Music of Time discussion

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2nd Movement > {June} The Kindly Ones

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message 1: by Sunny (new)

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


message 2: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb What I wrote back in 2014 when I've finished The Kindly Ones.....


Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England

In common with the previous five volumes this book is an absolute delight. Exquisite writing, a gripping narrative, humour and a wonderful social history of England throughout the twentieth century. What more could a reader wish for?

The shadow of war hangs over "The Kindly Ones" ("A Dance to the Music of Time" Volume 6).

The book opens at the start of World War 1 and closes with the start of World War 2. As in previous volumes the chronology is generally moving forwards however we start by a leap back to Nick's childhood in a family home near Aldershot.

We are also introduced to some new characters, most notably the splendid Dr Trelawney, who must surely be based on Aleister Crowley, and who features in some great scenes and gets some memorable lines. How about this as a way of describing the imminence of World War 2:

"The sword of Mithras, who each year immolates the sacred bull, will ere long now flash from its scabbard. The slayer of Osiris once again demands his grievous tribute of blood. The Angel of Death will ride the storm. 'The god, Mars, approaches the earth to lay waste. Moreover, the future is ever the consequence of the past."

As with previous volumes there are some unexpected twists and turns, including many for characters we have come to know well including our narrator Nick, Widmerpool, Uncle Giles, Moreland, Sir Magnus Donners, General Conyers, Tuffy Weedon, Bob Duport, and Templer.

I am delighted I still have another six volumes still to read.

5/5


message 3: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb I cannot wait to discover what the rest of you make of this wonderful book.


message 4: by Salt344 (new)

Salt344 My favorite in the series to date. What a fascinating mix of characters. The staging of the seven deadly sins at Stourwater was particularly interesting. On a side note I find it amusing that the magnate Magnus Donners is rarely discussed without mention of his apparently peculiar but unnamed sexual practices. I'm somewhat puzzled by the role of Dr. Trelawney. His appearances roughly bookend the novel, He is in his prime in the early scenes and in advanced decrepitude at the but still capable of prophesy. it’s interesting to me how “naturally” the supernatural is woven into the series. The enigmatic Mrs. Erdleigh makes another Delphic appearance here too. Many interesting things to discuss in this novel.


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I'm hoping to get started soon...


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments These comments are enticing...hope to start very soon.


message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I read chapter one today—this could be my new favourite book of the series. It was a little confusing at first but it's a flashback to Jenkins's childhood prior to the outbreak of WWI. It's great how Powell mixes things up with this series.

And we get the return of Uncle Giles! Yay! And more odd characters! Yay!


message 8: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I feel the same way


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I'm reading a so-so book now for my book club, and am chomping at the bit to get started on this. Maybe by Wednesday.


message 10: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I'm reading several books right now, but I had to look in on this. I'm half way through the 1st chapter and....wow it's good. You're going to enjoy this Diane.


message 11: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments Thoughts while reading...
The bombast of Widmerpool seems to know no bounds.
I never saw the relationship between General Conyers and Tuffy Weedon coming.

And a favorite quote regarding Miss Weedon and Stringham - "One passes through the world knowing few, if any, of the important things about even the people with whom one has been from time to time in the closest intimacy."


message 12: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (goodreadscomdawn_irena) | 12 comments I save these volumes for the quietest part of my night . Well, around midnight I climb into my bed like a child anxiously awaiting her bedtime story and this is when I choose to read the volumes of The Dance ! Often I am tired and a grumpy little girl if I can't get at least 25 pages read, but it can't be helped when you have to adorable parents at home to care for . They are really worth ever bit of the loving care and reading time I forfeit ! HA! My this book is so very good ! I never thought I would remember all the names , but I remember them and all things about them . I have not quite put them in a movie yet . I usually do that when I read . I have a fixed actor picked for each character . I think it throws me off that they are all English and I want to keep using those I have seen in other period mini series like Downton Abbey or Brideshead !!
Oh ! I will figure it out soon . There are still half the books to go !
Dawn


message 13: by Jonathan (last edited Jun 08, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments
'Look, the castle,' said Isobel. 'Nobody warned me it was made of cardboard.'



message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I finished Chapter 1 today, and it's just as good as promised. Really enjoying the look at Nick's childhood.


message 15: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Diane wrote: "I finished Chapter 1 today, and it's just as good as promised. Really enjoying the look at Nick's childhood."

This is my favorite so far. The scene during the dinner with The General when Billson has her "episode", just so well done!


Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments I have also started and I'm in the middle of dinner at the castle of Magnus Donners, where they plan a game of charades depicting the seven deadly sins. I loved the childhood interlude, but I find the return to adult Nick just as interesting.


message 17: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I love the sly way Powell shocks us out of the blue, such as Bilson 's "episode" in Chapter 1. One short sentence of 4 words stops the reader in her tracks. Then the way Peter Templer re-enters the scene early in Chapter 2. And of course, I'm sure Widmerpool's re-entry will be completely unexpected as well.


message 18: by Algernon (Darth Anyan) (last edited Jun 09, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments I also enjoy how characters change from one book to the next, or reveal suprising aspects of their personality. General Conyers is my current favorite, with his pooddles as hunting dogs, his psychoanalysis, his automobile and even interest in the occult and in Oriental mysticism. The guru 'Doctor' that was introduced in the first chapter is a new face that I hope will feature in the next books.


message 19: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments Algernon wrote: "I also enjoy how characters change from one book to the next, or reveal suprising aspects of their personality. General Conyers is my current favorite, with his puddles as hunting dogs, his psychoa..."
I agree that Conyers is fascinating. Particularly his calm demeanor in grabbing the cloth and covering up Billson and gently leading her out of the room. He has had real depth in this book.


message 20: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Yes, Conyers has shown a new, and very interesting depth, hasn't he. His interaction with the cult was unexpected and eye-opening.


message 21: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments And we're finding out a bit more about Nick as well; not just in the flashback to pre-WWI but also in the section I'm on at the moment where he's met Duport, Jean's ex-husband.


message 22: by Algernon (Darth Anyan) (last edited Jun 09, 2016 12:10PM) (new)

Algernon (Darth Anyan) | 44 comments The previous episode was a bit gloomy, what with all the illicit lovers and broken marriages, so I am truly glad to see a return to the humourous gossip and wacky characters (Like the cook who is afraid of suffragetes), even if there is clearly a sense of dancing on the edge of a precipice (The Munich Agreement)


message 23: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Jonathan wrote: "And we're finding out a bit more about Nick as well; not just in the flashback to pre-WWI but also in the section I'm on at the moment where he's met Duport, Jean's ex-husband."

Yes, I was surprised at all the "I"'s we get from Nick, esp. in one particular section as he ruminates -- not something we'd gotten before.


message 24: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments I've just finished chapter 3—it's full of revelations and old acquaintances—brilliant!


message 25: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I must say, this just gets better and better. Each installment is better than the last. The one volume per month reading schedule is perfect....just long enough to retain memory of the characters and how they relate to Nick. I have a feeling that December will bring a real grief on my part to give them up.


message 26: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Dunn | 3 comments Diane wrote: "I must say, this just gets better and better. Each installment is better than the last. The one volume per month reading schedule is perfect....just long enough to retain memory of the characters a..."

I agree, Diane. I was thinking the other day how hard it will be to lose everyone at the end of the year. I'm really loving this volume.


message 27: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I agree too. This most recent volume has me chomping at the bit for the next, yet also glad that we are pacing ourselves at a volume per month. The last book, The Kindly Ones, simply captivated me. I loved how Nick was more fully drawn into the action and how we are seeing so many sides of so many characters. I can't really imagine where this will go next!


message 28: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments It's good to see we're all still enjoying these books at the halfway point.:-)

In the latest volume Powell uses the phrase 'starting a baby'; I'd never heard this phrase before....and now I have just seen the phrase used again in another book I'm reading.


message 29: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Jonathan, was the book also British? I wondered whether this was a British-ism or a phrase of the time.


message 30: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes I thought that was a funny turn of phrase too. Maybe I'll start using it.


message 31: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan | 106 comments re: starting a baby
The book I'm reading was translated in the '50s, so similar period. I'm British but never heard it before...curious. I may start using it to see if I get any funny looks.


message 32: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments I kind of like it...makes me smile :-)
Although from the sounds of things, the "starting" has really already happened.


message 33: by Teresa (last edited Jun 14, 2016 08:44PM) (new)

Teresa Sue wrote: "I kind of like it...makes me smile :-)
Although from the sounds of things, the "starting" has really already happened."


Since a miscarriage was previously mentioned, I found it a poignant way to express it.


message 34: by Sue (last edited Jun 14, 2016 04:01PM) (new)

Sue | 85 comments Teresa wrote: "Sue wrote: "I kind of like it...makes me smile :-)
Although from the sounds of things, the "starting" has really already happened."

Since miscarriages were previously mentioned, I found it a poign..."

So true--Isobel had had a miscarriage earlier and I suppose all sorts of euphemisms may help the couple to cushion their expectations..


message 35: by Janet (new)

Janet (goodreadscomjanetj) | 29 comments I agree Teresa. After their previous experience it may have been helpful to think of it that way instead of saying having or expecting which both seem like a done deal. Starting a baby does cushion it a bit.


message 36: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes If the baby is actually born this time, it will be interesting to see Nick as a father.


message 37: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments So much to look forward to in the next book!


message 38: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 38 comments Phew! I've finally caught up. I'm rather breathless from everything that happened in this one. Now I get to read all your lovely comments. :)


message 39: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 38 comments I'm pleased to see that everyone has been enjoying this volume as much as I did. There was so much humor but also, as someone mentioned, the sheer number of failed relationships and betrayal is quite sad. I suspect that there's something of the effects of WW I in that. Everything I've read suggests that the social upheaval was profound.

I've been a bit dismayed to find that every female character who resurfaces does so as someone's lover, fiancée, or wife. Or mother. But then Gypsy Jones showed up! Also, I know the events are told through Nick's eyes and perhaps that is how women appear to him, but they definitely have less depth than the male characters.


message 40: by Sue (new)

Sue | 85 comments Renee, some of the Tolland women seem to live different sorts of lives. I wonder if we will learn any more about them. (of course I can't recall any names at the moment)


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