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Some Do Not... by Ford Madox Ford

Some Do Not... (1924)

by Ford Madox Ford

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SIX STARS. Reasons why HERE. ( )
  KateSherrod | Aug 1, 2016 |
I'm not entirely convinced by this. It's set both before and during WW1 and revolves around a gentleman of good family called Tietjens. The characters are of a type that is almost impossible to imagine now, but that's not to say that they are not interesting, flawed human beings. I listened to this and the thing I found most annoying about the overall style was that it was almost all in either dialogue or internal dialogue and the narrator continually having to interject with "he said, she said" really got very intrusive, to the extent that i started listening out for them, not what the characters were saying. Maybe this would be better being read. There were some lovely descriptive touches and some of the passages were entrancing, but the characters seems to take great delight in misinterpreting or misunderstanding every situation they could possibly think of. This is the first of 4 parts, I may give the next a go in print. ( )
  Helenliz | Jan 29, 2014 |
I have split the four volumes of Parade's End for review purposes. This was my favorite of the four, and also the most difficult for me to get through. It is hard to adapt oneself to Ford's narrative style--he begins most chapters or sections in medias res and then pieces together all the events that have led up to a decisive moment. Half the time while reading this volume I didn't really understand what was going on, but by the end you have such a full, rich understanding of the inner lives of a complex set of characters that it is worth the struggle it has taken to read and absorb the book.

Basically this book sets up the major conflicts of the Parade's End tetralogy, the story of Christopher Tietjens, a younger son of the landed gentry whose upright morals seem to doom him to failure in a corrupt world. Tietjens bucks against society in the name of "the eighteenth century," which to him seems to evoke an uncomplicated time before modernity. The book explores themes of lost innocence, public and private morality, and national decline in the years leading up to the First World War. It is startling as a document of these changes, completed just a few years after the end of the war. Thus it feels immediate and vivid. But I think it has also stood the test of time as a modernist experiment and a piece of art.

It's hard to like Tietjens at first, but he rather grew on me over the course of the novels. In the beginning, he seems hopelessly priggish, rude, uncompromising, and rather foolish despite his enormous intellect. By the end, you come to see him as a sensitive person who hides or stifles his emotions so that he may better serve others. I think this is intentional. The way Christopher's consciousness slowly opens before the reader mirrors the way that Valentine Wannop, his object of chaste desire, comes to see past his surface. The way I described feeling towards Tietjens at the beginning of the novel is also the way his manipulative wife, Sylvia, sees him for most of the tetralogy. Therefore, I conclude that our gradual growth of affection for the main character is intentional on the part of Ford, a master of the slow reveal. ( )
1 vote sansmerci | Mar 11, 2013 |
Struggled with this quite a bit......difficult to follow, confusing in its construction, and full of dialogue so full of names and references that likely would have had meaning to an English reader of the 1920's, but is totally lost on me. With those negatives now off my chest, I can say that as i progressed further through the book, i started to figure out the bizarre construction of the novel's timeline and began to be a little less thrown off by it. You will be engaged in a story line and then are suddenly bombarded with references out of the blue concerning events and people you have no knowledge of and you feel totally lost. The next section will then backtrack and tell the back story leading to that previous confusing section and eventually you can go..."ahhhhhh......now i get it" But a little tedious for my taste. With more knowledge of the WWI era in England and the social protocol of the day, i imagine this would be a far greater read than for someone so ignorant of this context like myself. But, this is the first half of a 2-novels in one edition and i will move right on into the next in the series, and hopefully this will give me some more overall clarity. Wish me luck! ( )
  jeffome | Feb 11, 2012 |
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The two young men--they were of the English public official class--sat in the perfectly appointed railway carriage.
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Christopher Tietjens, a brilliant, unconventional mathematician, is married to the dazzling yet unfaithful Sylvia when, during a turbulent weekend, he meets a young Suffragette by the name of Valentine Wannop. Christopher and Valentine are on the verge of becoming lovers until he must return to his World War I regiment. Ultimately, Christopher, shell-shocked and suffering from amnesia, is sent back to London. An unforgettable exploration of the tensions of a society confronting catastrophe, sexuality, power, madness, and violence, this narrative.… (more)

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