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The Kindly Ones (A Dance to the Music of Time 6) (original 1962; edition 1977)

by Anthony Powell

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270442,050 (4.1)29
Member:devenish
Title:The Kindly Ones (A Dance to the Music of Time 6)
Authors:Anthony Powell
Info:Fontana (1977), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Dance to the Music of Time (A), Anthony Powell, Review

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The Kindly Ones by Anthony Powell (1962)

Recently added byprivate library, arukiyomi, dm131313, immaculatechaos, isabelx, NigelPJ, Dureo
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Ah…now here’s a volume that can completely stand alone and is, I feel, by far the best so far in Powell’s 12-volume epic A Dance to the Music of Time.

The novel flashes back to Nick’s childhood and memories of the build-up to the First World War. It then moves back to the period just before the Second World War and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything where these two periods are juxtaposed like this. I found the characters introduced here, primarily from Nick’s younger days, to be very memorable both in themselves and also for what they get up to.

But there’s plenty of action among Nick’s adult set too though as they prepare for what looks like the inevitable European conflict. There are a couple of notable deaths and on the whole there’s a better balance between conversation and events than in the previous volumes.

However, there’s no change in the style. Powell still writes with great insight into the human condition and his genius continues with the further development of his vast array of characters. Although I’m only halfway through the novel, I already have a feeling I’m going to miss quite a few of these come December when I plan to finish off the twelfth episode. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jul 12, 2014 |
Uncle Giles muttered, almost whispered these facts, speaking as if he were talking to himself, not at all in the voice of a man announcing to the world in general the close of an epoch; the outbreak of Armageddon; the birth of a new, uneasy age. He did not look in the least like the harbinger of the Furies.

The Kindly Ones starts with a 75 page flashback to Nick's childhood house near Aldershot. I noticed that Nick's phlegmatic temperament is in direct contrast to his father's, who is reduced to a state of misery and rage by getting blood on his jodhpurs after cutting himself shaving, but the story mainly concerns a love triangle between his family's staff; Bracey (Major Jenkins' army servant) is in love with Billson the maid, but she is in love with Albert the cook, who is not interested in her. Tensions between the staff come to a head the day General and Mrs Conyers come for lunch, and Uncle Giles turns up as an unlikely harbinger of the Furies, announcing that Archbishop Franz-Ferdinand has been assassinated.

A man stood on the threshold. He was in uniform. He appeared to be standing at attention, a sinister, threatening figure, calling the world to arms. It was Widmerpool.

The story then skips forward 25 years, but another war is looming, so the atmosphere is just as tense, although Widmerpool confidently predicts that the Munich Agreement has bought them another 5 years at least. Nick is now 35, but he has put his name on the reserve list, and when the Phoney War begins he is restless when there is no sign of him being called up. Another part of Nick's life comes to an end, when his Uncle Giles dies while living in a hotel owned by Albert and his wife. Nick goes there to sort out his uncle's affairs, he finds Bob Duport staying there, who unburdens himself to Nick about his ex-wife Jean's many love affairs, leaving Nick disillusioned about his past affair with her when he realises that she had been seeing another lover at the same time.

This is one of my favourite books in the series, especially the flash back to Nick's childhood.In my review of one of The Acceptance World, I said that the lower classes are hardly mentioned in A Dance to the Music of Time, so it was nice to read Nick's memories of the servants who shared his childhood home. ( )
  isabelx | Jun 30, 2014 |
In this sixth book of the series 'A Dance To The Music Of Time', Jenkins continues his narration and brings the story to the eve of World War Two. Among the notable events on route is the affair of the 'love triangle' between Albert,Billson and Bracey, respectively cook,maid and soldier-servant to General Conyers at Stonehurst. Also of note is the 'photographic party' in which Sir Magnus Donners and his friends compose and act out a series of tableaux depicting ''The Seven Deadly Sins'. Later the death of Jenkin's Uncle Giles occurs. ( )
  devenish | Jan 24, 2013 |
Simply wonderful! This sixth volume of the majestic Dance to the Music of Time starts with a recapitulation of memories of Nick Jenkins' childhood, and in particular the apocalyptic events of the day on which World War One broke out. While humour is at the forefront throughout the series, there is also an ever-present undercurrent of melancholia.
After a glimpse into Jenkins' childhood, with a brief cameo from his Uncle Giles, we are brought back to the months leading up to the war, and the struggle to eke out an economic subsistence during an aesthetically unsympathetic time. Hugh Moreland looms large, as does the menacing Kenneth Widmerpool, as pompous and odious as ever.
In this particular volume General Conyers, old, venerable and seen by many as a relic from a bygone age suddenly establishes himself as one of the pivotal figures in the sequence. and is unmasked as an innovator and conduit for modern though.
Yet the most striking character to emerge for the first time in this volume is the alchemical thaumaturge whose unorthodox commune struck terror into the pre-adolescent Jenkins. ( )
1 vote Eyejaybee | Apr 1, 2011 |
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Boxer, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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FOR R. W. K.C.
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Albert, fleshy, sallow, blue chinned, breathing hard, sweating a little, fitted an iron bar into sockets on either side of the wooden shutters he had just closed across the final window of the stable-block.
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