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A Dance to the Music of Time: Third Movement, Autumn

by Anthony Powell

Series: A Dance to the Music of Time (Omnibus 7-9)

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8221420,649 (4.2)53
Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations. Volume 3 contains the seventh, eighth and ninth novel in the series- The Valley of Bones; The Soldier's Art; The Military Philosophers… (more)
  1. 01
    The Sword of Honour Trilogy by Evelyn Waugh (thorold)
    thorold: Evelyn Waugh's Sword of honour trilogy covers much the same ground as the 3rd quarter of A dance to the music of time, based on their authors' experiences as slightly elderly and very unmilitary junior officers during World War II.
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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
In Powell's inimitable style, the three books of Volume 3, encompass WWII. Nicholas Jenkins, our narrator, continues to share his internal monologue. Many characters, new and old, populate these years. The reader is privy to the absurdities, the humanity, the vanity and selfishness, of former society scions coming face to face with themselves, with war, with reversal of circumstances, with kindness, with cruelty and with the sheer exhaustion of individuals and nations after six years of war. Powell's capacity to share the minutiae of daily life and the inner psychological pondering of the narrator can occasionally feel Dickensian, so bear that in mind when taking this volume, and the others, on. I thoroughly enjoyed this volume! ( )
  hemlokgang | Jun 8, 2021 |
I learn I am not immortal ( )
  farrhon | Jan 25, 2021 |
The Valley of Bones:
It's a tailor's war
not for old duffers like Nick
he's a daddy now.

The Soldier's Art:
Bombs and bed-hopping
Nick's French costs him a new job
it's good to have friends.

The Military Philosophers:
The infamous Pam
breaker of powerful balls
Kenneth's perfect girl. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
(18) The third collection of 3 novels - Nick is now in the Army during WW2. These novels focus almost exclusively around army life and the characters he meets therein. It is not surprising that Nick doesn't see any action and is relagated to bureaucratic and diplomatic positions given his age and education. He starts out as a minor officer in an Infantry Division in the first novel, then gets transferred to 'Headquarters' where he becomes none other than Widmerpool's assistant. And finally, he is promoted and seems to be working with military attaches from other countries doing various things. Of course, during all these adventures his paths cross with all his old familiars. While Nick escapes unscathed, not so for many of the characters we have come to know.

I think this is my favorite of the collections so far. I was able to relate to even some of his most dense elegiac passages when he was musing on life (though I will never get all the literary allusions and have given up trying. . .) The subtle humor with the exquisite descriptions of individuals and their foibles is impressive - I loved the scene of the two colonels (the owl and the dog) exchanging conversation in the presence of the general at dinner. Powell conveyed such tension and rivalry with just the exchange of a few sentences about a glass of port. And Widmerpool is such a tool! His narcissism is both annoying and amusing. I have stopped wishing to get to know Isobel better and as I predicted, nary a word about the child. Even as a space of 6 years goes by during the War - Nick doesn't once mention his kids name!

These novels are not easy reads and not for everyone but I am thoroughly enjoying them now. As I am used to the authors style and turns of phrase now, it is not taking me as long to read them. They capture a generality regarding one's lived experiences with the passage of time and stages of life, as well as the particulars of upper class life during the early 20th century in England. ( )
  jhowell | Apr 7, 2020 |
The Valley of Bones

The Soldier's Art 4 stars

Sullen reverberations of one kind or another - blitz in England, withdrawal in Greece - had been providing the most recent noises-off in rehearsals that never seemed to end, breeding a wish that the billed performance would at last ring up its curtain, whatever form that took. However, the date of the opening night rested in hands other than our own; meanwhile nobody could doubt that more rehearsing, plenty more rehearsing, was going to be needed for a long time to come.

The book starts with Nick buying an army greatcoat at a shop that is a theatrical costumier as well as supplying uniforms, and throughout this book Nick sees himself as being in the wings rehearsing for a real part in the war, although he still posted to Northern Ireland in a port city that is regularly bombed. But when he is on leave in London during the Blitz, the reality of war its home when relatives and friends are killed in the bombing.

Nick is embarrassed when Stringham turns up as his mess waiter and is upset when his meddling leads Widmerpool to transfer him to a Mobile Laundry unit which is about to be sent abroad, although Widmerpool can't see what Nick is fussing about. Nick is finding army life dull and is chafing to get away from Widmerpool who is constantly scheming to get his own way over his rivals, but seems destined to being posted to another dull job at the Infantry Training Centre until he is sent a lifeline at the very end of the book.

The Military Philosophers ( )
  isabelx | Dec 29, 2015 |
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For Arthur and Rosemary
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Snow from yesterday's fall still lay in patches and the morning air was glacial.
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Omnibus volume of:

7 -- The Valley of Bones;
8 -- The Soldier’s Art; and
9 -- The Military Philosophers.

NOTE: The Simon Vance audiobook, combined here, is unabridged.
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Anthony Powell's brilliant twelve-novel sequence chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations. Volume 3 contains the seventh, eighth and ninth novel in the series- The Valley of Bones; The Soldier's Art; The Military Philosophers

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