At Lady Molly's

At Lady Molly's PDF/EPUB ☆ At Lady  eBook ç
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  • 272
  • At Lady Molly's
  • Anthony Powell
  • English
  • 20 May 2018
  • 0099472430

About the Author: Anthony Powell

At Lady Molly's PDF/EPUB ☆ At Lady eBook ç lady mobile, molly's ebok, At Lady mobile, At Lady Molly'sAt Lady Molly's ePUB Anthony Dymoke Powell CH, CBE was an English novelist best known for his twelve volume work A Dance to the Music of Time, published between and Powell s major work has remained in print continuously and has been the subject of TV and radio dramatisations In , The Times newspaper named Powell among their list of The greatest British writers since .


At Lady Molly'sAt Lady Molly's PDF/EPUB ☆ At Lady eBook ç lady mobile, molly's ebok, At Lady mobile, At Lady Molly'sAt Lady Molly's ePUB The fourth novel in Anthony Powell s brilliant twelve novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time.

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10 thoughts on “At Lady Molly's

  1. Kalliope says:

    4 AT LADY MOLLY S The two year s gap between the 3rd and 4th volume brings us to what seems a different ballroom, with different dancers, and at first I feel as if I had lost my footing At Lady Molly s is a different mansion Eventually though, I realise the music is not really different Same pace, same harmonies just some variation in the melodies Powell s addictive writing and tune soon draws me into the whirls and swirls and then as some of the dancers from the previous volumes gra 4 AT LADY MOLLY S The two year s gap between the 3rd and 4th volume brings us to what seems a different ballroom, with different dancers, and at first I feel as if I had lost my footing At Lady Molly s is a different mansion Eventually though, I realise the music is not really different Same pace, same harmonies just some variation in the melodies Powell s addictive writing and tune soon draws me into the whirls and swirls and then as some of the dancers from the previous volumes gradually stream into this new salon, I regain my balance.Along this fourth volume we can also fell that Jenkins, the narrator, is gradually aging How Powell manages this so subtly baffles me Because along all these ballrooms there does not seem to be a mirror hung anywhere No self reflections Instead we can only see portraits And indeed, how punctilious and exacting these portrayals are Nothing seems to escape the sharp eye, almost surgical, of Jenkins He is almost like our peek hole But he is not He is part of the action, part of the plot and the memories and recollections are his And yet, they never reveal much about him All his attention is directed elsewhere, like that of a meticulous portraitist.But all along the long gallery of portraits there is one which consistently stands out He was after all the first dancer of the Dance And even though Widmerpool is so very creepy, and such a gauche dancer, I am infinitely amused whenever he walks into the ballroom and steps onto the limelight He is the where is Wallyof Powell s dance Where is Widmerpool He certainly was At Lady Molly s and left his uncanny mark

  2. Ted says:

    The first volume of Summer, the second of four trilogies of Anthony Powell s Dance to the Music of Time Synopsis followed by What I Thought.In this synopsis, I ve used Hilary Spurling s brief overview of the chapters to remind me of the narrative threads in each of them see Invitation to the Dance.This segment of the Dance takes place in 1934 The first chapter commences on the New Year The series first person narrator, Nicholas Jenkins, is now in his late twenties, working in the low grade The first volume of Summer, the second of four trilogies of Anthony Powell s Dance to the Music of Time Synopsis followed by What I Thought.In this synopsis, I ve used Hilary Spurling s brief overview of the chapters to remind me of the narrative threads in each of them see Invitation to the Dance.This segment of the Dance takes place in 1934 The first chapter commences on the New Year The series first person narrator, Nicholas Jenkins, is now in his late twenties, working in the low grade film industry as a scriptwriter He s taken to a party by Chips Lovell at Lovell s aunt s place The aunt is Lady Molly Jeavens, who has graciously bestowed her name via the handiwork of Powell to the book The typical party banter of Powell s novels here produces among other new revelations of time s passing the unexpected news that Jenkin s long time acquaintance Widmerpool from school and college is engaged to be married.The second chapter involves lunch with Widmerpool, a tea attended by Jenkins at which he is quizzed about Widmerpool by the latter s soon to be in laws, and a chance encounter with J.C Quiggin.Since we had been undergraduates together my friendship with Quiggin, moving up and down at different seasons, could have been plotted like a temperature chart Sometimes we seemed on fairly good terms, sometimes on fairly bad terms never with any very concrete reason for these improvements and deteriorations However, if Quiggin thought it convenient to meet during a bad period, he would always take steps to do so, having no false pride in this or any other aspect of his dealings with the world.In this instance, Quiggin indeed does have a reason for meeting with Jenkins, and invites him out to Quiggin s cottage for a weekend.Chapter three finds Jenkins having accepted such an invitation and taking a train out from London, where a taxi meets him at the station and conveys him to the cottage Jenkins was hesitant about the get together, knowing that Quiggin was now living with, perhaps even married to, Mona, the former wife of one of Jenkins best friends from school, whom he had run away with As Jenkins had reflected before accepting the invite, I was unwilling to seem to condone too easily the appropriation of an old friend s wife although it had to be admitted that Templar the old friend himself had never been over squeamish about accepting, within his own circle, such changes of partnership Apart from such scruples, I knew enough of Quiggin to be sure that his cottage would bethan ordinarily uncomfortable Nothing I had seen of Mona gave cause to reconsider this want of confidence in their combined domestic economy.During the visit, Quiggin s patron and landlord, Erridge , stops by unannounced It is decided that the next evening they will have dinner at Erridge s estate Thrubworth Park, a couple miles through the woods Erridge is the Viscount Erridge, also the Earl of Warminster, the eldest of the Tolland clan, an erratic and high minded social revolutionary At the dinner two of Erridge s sisters drop by The first sight of one of these, Isobel, occasions our narrator to remark, Would it be too explicit, too exaggerated, to say that when I set eyes on Isobel Tolland, I knew at once that I should marry her Something like that is the truth, certainly nearer the truth than merely to record those vague, inchoate sentiments of interest of which I was so immediately conscious It was as if I had known her for many years already enjoyed happiness with her and suffered sadness I was conscious of that, as of another life, nostalgically remembered Then, at that moment, to be compelled to go through the paraphernalia of introduction, of getting to know one another by means of the normal formalities of social life, seemed hardly worth while We knew one another already, the future was determinate.The fourth chapter takes place as Widmerpool s wedding is approaching, a month or two after the previous The location, after some initial moving about of the pieces on the playing field, is a pub in Soho Jenkins finds himself, against many odds, drinking with Jeavons, Lady Molly s husband, who happened to be in the pub when Jenkins entered by himself Jeavons supplies Jenkins with several surprising stories of times gone by, involving both Jeavons and others of the characters involved in the Dance.The final chapter takes places in the fall of 1934, once again at Lady Molly s The party has been arranged subsequent to the engagement announcement by Jenkins and Isobel Fate has twisted for Widmerpool, and during much of the party Jenkins is closeted with General Conyers, who reveals to him his knowledge and psychological analysis of the Widmerpool episode Widmerpool himself has the last word You know, Nicholas, it is wise to take good advice about such a thing as marriage I hope you have done so yourself I have thought about the subject a good deal, and you are always welcome to my views What I Thought about 1 Powell s writing styleIf this is the first review you have read of Powell s Dance, you should take particular care to note the quotes above and below All of these illustrate one of the two things about these novels that appeals so inordinately to me That is the superb phrasing and word choice he uses, particularly in the internal narration by Jenkins The dialogue of which there is a fair amount is not so much in this style, which is probably just as well But for the narrative passages, Powell never uses the same important noun or verb twice in the same sentence, and generally not even in the same paragraph This leads to writing which sparkles with unpredictability, and frequently with a delightfully humorous glow as well.Here s one final extended quote, from the party in the last chapter, that illustrates the comedy that occasionally emanates from Powell s meticulous prose The guests seemed, in fact, to have been chosen evenat random than usual Certainly there had been no question either of asking people because they were already friends of Isobel or myself still less, because Molly wanted either of us specifically to meet them All that was most nondescript in the Jeavons entourage predominated, together with a few exceptional and reckless examples of individual oddity I noticed Alfred Tolland was standing in the corner of the room, wedged behind a table, talking to of all people Mark Members, whom I had never before seen at the Jeavonses , and might be supposed, in principle, beyond Molly s normal perimeter, wide as that might stretch or at least essentially alien to most of what it enclosed To describe the two of them as standing looking at one another, rather than talking, would have been nearer the truth, as each apparently found equal difficulty in contributing anything to a mutual conversation At the same time the table cut them off from contact with other guests 2 TimeThe other appeal of the Dance is, of course, the magnificent theme of time s passage, or put another way, of the characters and our own passage through time Over and again Jenkins tells us how through a conversation or simply though observing another of the characters playing his role in a given scene, he suddenly becomes aware of something which he never suspected before either about that character, that character s relationship to another character, about his own relationship to this or some other character or even ageneral truth about himself and most of us along with him The Dance That great dance of life, in which we swirl our way across the years, observing and discovering the changing relationships between ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and acquaintances, the ever changing judgments we make of the fortunes, driving forces, and characters of these people as they approach, recede, disappear, and reappear as they dance to the music of time

  3. Vit Babenco says:

    Summer arrives Life jogs along, apparently in the same old way, and then suddenly your attention is drawn to some terrific change that has taken place.Life hardly ever turns out to be what it was expected to become And the narrator looks around and keeps wondering So often one thinks that individuals and situations cannot be so extraordinary as they seem from outside only to find that the truth is a thousand times odder.The novel At Lady Molly s mostly concerns matrimonial prospects of a social Summer arrives Life jogs along, apparently in the same old way, and then suddenly your attention is drawn to some terrific change that has taken place.Life hardly ever turns out to be what it was expected to become And the narrator looks around and keeps wondering So often one thinks that individuals and situations cannot be so extraordinary as they seem from outside only to find that the truth is a thousand times odder.The novel At Lady Molly s mostly concerns matrimonial prospects of a social climber Kenneth Widmerpool, who was earlier defined as a frog footman , which description suits him perfectly, I guess.And one character commented on his chosen one Women may show some discrimination about whom they sleep with, but they ll marry anybody And what about the other female personages A lot of social butterflies, that s all they are Summer is a season of butterflies and men are catchers

  4. Darwin8u says:

    Woman may show some discrimination about whom they sleep with, but they will marry anybodyAnthony Powell, At Lady Molly sMarriage, as I have said, is a form of action, of violence almost an assertion of the will Its orbit is not to be chartered with precision, if misrepresentation and contrivance are to be avoided Its facts can perhaps only be known by implication It is a state from which all objectivity has been removedAnthony Powell, At Lady Molly s At Lady Molly s is the fourtWoman may show some discrimination about whom they sleep with, but they will marry anybodyAnthony Powell, At Lady Molly sMarriage, as I have said, is a form of action, of violence almost an assertion of the will Its orbit is not to be chartered with precision, if misrepresentation and contrivance are to be avoided Its facts can perhaps only be known by implication It is a state from which all objectivity has been removedAnthony Powell, At Lady Molly s At Lady Molly s is the fourth book of 12, or the first book in A Dance to the Music of Time 2nd Movement If you prefer to think of Anthony Powell s rhymes with pole s, not towel s masterpiece cycle in terms of months, At Lady Molly s is April.This novel, like most all of Powell s novels so far, brings in new characters, allows old characters to flow through, and generally pushes time forward a few years I ve heard many descriptions of Anthony Powell s narrative Some describe it as a dance obviously that Powell choreographs Some describe it as a symphony where themes and instruments appear, play their part, and remain silent for a couple minutes only to reappear in slightly different circumstances and dress I am reminded a bit of Degas experimentations with monotypes He loved to play with the process of printmaking How the printmaking process could smudge and press his ideas with either dark fields or light fields His images of people and landscapes would emerge out of darkness, smudged reflections would arrive from the plates He would create multiple images from the same plate that would allow him to create ghost images He would let the press express, through colored smudges, the idea of movement I think Powell is playing with some of the same ideas Through time and memory, faces blur, but the dance continues People spin into focus, briefly, and then spin away That is the cycle of life and relationships.I also like the appearance early in this novel of Lord Alfred Warminster or Erry, short for Erridge, or Alf This character is largely based on George Orwell, a contemporary of Anthony Powell and classmate and friend from Eton, who operated in many of the same circles Orwell and Powell were actually very close for several years, and Alf, seems to be Powell both celebrating Orwell and poking gentle fun at his talented, leftist friend In fact, Powell and Orwell were so close that at Orwell s funeral in 1950 Powell was the one who selected the hymns Reflecting on this Powell wroteThe Lesson was from Ecclesiastes, the grinders in the streets, the grasshopper a burden, the silver cord loosed, the wheel broken at the cistern For some reason George Orwell s funeral service was one of the most harrowing I have ever attended Anyway, like Proust, it is easy to get caught up in the talk, the movement Whereas reading Proust always reminded me of participating in a lucid dream, reading Powell seemslike being fairly toasted at a beautiful party or well a dance

  5. Susan says:

    This is the fourth volume in the twelve novel, Dance to the Music of Time The books are organised in terms of the seasons and so the first three novels are the Spring of our narrator s life, consisting of A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer s Market and The Acceptance World This novel is the first in the Summer This begins in 1934 and follows many of the characters we have already become fond of, as well as some new introductions.The last novel, The Acceptance World, saw Nick Jenkins just emb This is the fourth volume in the twelve novel, Dance to the Music of Time The books are organised in terms of the seasons and so the first three novels are the Spring of our narrator s life, consisting of A Question of Upbringing, A Buyer s Market and The Acceptance World This novel is the first in the Summer This begins in 1934 and follows many of the characters we have already become fond of, as well as some new introductions.The last novel, The Acceptance World, saw Nick Jenkins just embarking on a career in publishing The Bright Young Things of the 1920 s are now growing up and embarking on marriages and divorces You have a sense that Nick feels he is somehow being left behind His affair with Peter Templer s sister, Jean, is over and, later in the novel, he meets a woman that he feels he will marry However, like much of the romantic affairs in this book, it all feels rather tired and inevitable, rather than romantic and wonderful.Central to this book is Kenneth Widmerpool who, to our narrator s surprise, has become engaged This engagement, and other characters reactions to it, continue as a thread throughout the novel Widmerpool was, of course, at school with Jenkins and his childhood friends Templer and Stringham Now Templer s first marriage has broken down, while Stringham is drinking heavily We also meet up with other familiar characters including Quiggins and Mark Members Jenkins is now a published author, but there is still a feeling of dissatisfaction and impermanence about both his life and career, while Widmerpool is on an upward trajectory the unlikely success, forging ahead.As well as personal relationships, the novel also explores the era the books are set in At one point in the novel, characters wonder whether there will be another war Still, although dark clouds are on the horizon, nobody yet seems that concerned about any immediate danger Life, for Nick and those around him, goes on, and I look forward to reading the next novel in the series Casanova s Chinese Restaurant

  6. Connie G says:

    In 1934 Nick is working as a scriptwriter for the film industry He meets a new group of people at Lady Molly s, and gets to know the Tolland family Nick is courting Isobel Tolland, but we find out very little about their relationship.Widmerpool shows up quite often in this fourth book of the series, and gets involved with an unusual older woman There are many humorous events and eccentric new characters in this book Very entertaining

  7. Manny says:

    The following passage was discovered in 2007 in an early draft of Anthony Powell s novel At Lady Molly sIt was presented at a joint meeting of the Anthony Powell and Sigfrid Siwertz societies held earlier this month in Stockholm, where it was the occasion for considerable debate I suddenly realised that the person talking with Sir Magnus was General Conyers, whom I had not seen in over a year I scanned his face anxiously at that age, senility can set in with terrible suddenness but he sThe following passage was discovered in 2007 in an early draft of Anthony Powell s novel At Lady Molly sIt was presented at a joint meeting of the Anthony Powell and Sigfrid Siwertz societies held earlier this month in Stockholm, where it was the occasion for considerable debate I suddenly realised that the person talking with Sir Magnus was General Conyers, whom I had not seen in over a year I scanned his face anxiously at that age, senility can set in with terrible suddenness but he seemed almost preternaturally unchanged A moment later, he had moved over to join me You look well, sir, I hazarded Keeping busy, said the General That s the important thing Had I started reading Swedish when we last met The rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons

  8. Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    Come along, all of you, said Molly You must all see the monkey You too, Tuffy You simply must see him People say that you can meet anybody at one of the evening parties given by Lady Molly, and Nicholas Jenkins is about to test the theorem when he gets invited by one of his new friends, Chipp LowellYou can find anything at Aunt Molly s even lovely girls Are you coming I d like to very much The monkey residing in the bedroom of the host is actually one of the least controvers Come along, all of you, said Molly You must all see the monkey You too, Tuffy You simply must see him People say that you can meet anybody at one of the evening parties given by Lady Molly, and Nicholas Jenkins is about to test the theorem when he gets invited by one of his new friends, Chipp LowellYou can find anything at Aunt Molly s even lovely girls Are you coming I d like to very much The monkey residing in the bedroom of the host is actually one of the least controversial and surprising guests in the house Old acquaintances from the first three books are popping in and out of the limelight Tuffy Wheedon, Dicky Umfraville, an elderly reclusive gentleman that seems related to everybody else, old school friends and old flames New names and their family connections are thrown at the reader Molly and Jeavons the hosts, a general that trains poodles for hunting dogs, Alf alias Erridge alias Lord Warminster, an unconventional butler named Smith and a society lady that smokes like a chimney stack and swears like a soldier in the trenches, even the pretty girls that are liable to make the heart of the still young Nick flutter All of them though are eclipsed by the dramatic entrance of the most ubiquitous character in the whole series view spoiler Life is full of internal dramas, instantaneous and sensational, played to an audience of one This was just such a performance The fiance was Widmerpool Based on this particular scene, I have a fancy that Widmerpool should be played onscreen by Kramer from the Seinfeld TV series hide spoiler With each volume of the Dance, it seems to me that the prose gets better, the character descriptions get both funnier andpoignant, the self assurance and the talent of our Narrator is developing at the same pace as the skill of the author Nick Jenkins in the first volume was shy and passive, a simple witness of the events around him By this fourth volume Nicholas is a young author with a couple of books under his belt, with a heart that has known love and its pitfalls, a man that accepted the world as it is and is now ready to actively play his part On the professional side, we are treated to a glimpse of the budding British movie industry, when a local protection law required that every American movie shown in cinemas is accompanied by a homemade showI was then at the time of life when one has written a couple of novels, and moved from a firm that published art books to a company that produced second feature films On the emotional side, Nick is less liable to fall in love with every girl he meets and he is still pining for Jean, but prefers to look ahead instead of backwardI was firmly of the opinion that even the smallest trace of nostalgia for the immediate past was better avoided A bracing future was required, rather than vain regrets Regarding the world Nick chronicles for us, conversations overheard in a restaurant, in a jazz club or around the dinner table hint at the approaching storm brough by the Nazis, but the focus of the series is still on family dramas, on marriages that work despite the spouses being total opposites and on marriages that fail, despite being a match made in heaven to the outsiders I have remarked before that what makes Nick an excellent narrator and a future great writer is his power of observation coupled with a still fresh interest in everything that happens around him Curiosity, which makes the world go round, brought me in the end to accept Quiggin s invitation Be prepared to be, like Nick, constantly surprised by the follies and by the hidden talents of the people you will meet again and again in the course of the Dance The literary critic Quiggin is trying to hold on the trophy wife he stole from another old schoolmate Mona the wife dreams of becoming an actress on the silver screen, while casting apraising eyes at the peer living next door Templer, her ex husband, is patching his pride by taking starlets out to night clubs, but his aphorisms are soundingthan a little bitterWomen may show some discrimination about whom they sleep with, but they ll marry anybodyA wealthy lord is living in the poor houses because he wants to study the social conditions of the proletariat A retired army general is taking an interest in Virginia Woolf and Carl Jung The elderly butler is about to be arrested by the police for obscure reasons and is very shifty when asked to put the liquor on the table Widmerpool continues to refuse to conform to the image Nick has constructed of him, and proves that the will is not always enough for success, especially in matters of the heart but I am getting too close to spoiling some of the best scenes in the novel now, and I think I shoud refrain fromrevelations view spoiler It was good though to find out that the grubby communist nymphet Gypsy Jones is still waiting in the stalls for her comeback, as a love interest for the oddball Erridge hide spoilerI had always felt an interest in what might be called the theoretical side of Widmerpool s life the reaction of his own emotions to the severe rule of ambition that he had from the beginning imposed upon himself the determination that existence must be governed by the will I have used the quote above as a sort of key to understanding why Widmerpool, and others like him, are constantly coming back into the Dance, the basic duality between the people of will business tycoons, politicians, critics and contemplative people who search for the meaning of life Nick and his Boema of painters, writers, musicians, social butterflies For Nick Jenkins, I believe maturity means accepting the fact that the dividing line between the two categories is constantly shifting and it needs to be updated as new information is available or as old events are examined in a new lightThe fact that Widmerpool seemed a grotesque figure to some who knew him provided no reason why he should not inspire love in others I record these speculations not for their generosity of feeling, but to emphasise the difficulty in understanding, even remotely, why people behave as they do Nick, as a man who keeps an open mind, is a student of human nature and is ready to admit he was wrong in his previous judgements of people, appears to me as the perfect guide for the rest of the Dance, a guarantee that we will continue to be enchanted and intrigued by what the future has in store for us So often one thinks that individuals and situations cannot be so extraordinary as they seem from outside only to find that the truth is a thousand times odder My favorite illustration of the above mentioned Law is in the portrait of Jeavons, the veteran of the Somme who married a lady of the high society, and who seems out of sorts, an anachronism, among the sparkling guests of his wifeLike one of those mammoths or, in Jeavons case, somewhat less gigantic form of primeval life caught in a glacier and physically preserved into an age when his very kind was known only from fossilised bones, or drawings on the walls of subterranean caves, he somehow managed to look just as he must have looked in 1917 hardly a day older Perhaps a better simile to indicate the effect of remoteness he gave, standing there with a vacant expression and both hands in his pockets, would be that of some rare insect enclosed in amber Before the end of the novel though, Jeavons is revealed as a dark horse, a man of secret passions and hidden depths Also as a heavy drinker and occasional lecherous habits He is, like the world he lives in, shaped by the momentous events of a world warPeople don t think the same way any longer, he bawled across the table The war blew the whole thing up, like tossing a Mills bomb into a dug out Everything s changed about all that Always feel rather sorry for your generation as a matter of fact, not but what we haven t all lost our what do you call em you know somebody used the word in our house the other night saying much what I m saying now Struck me very forcibly You know when you re soft enough to think things are going to be a damned sight better than they turn out to be What s the word Illusions Illusions That s the one We ve lost all our bloody illusions Similar revelations are expected by now from almost any character participating in the Dance From time to time, I felt when visiting Molly, that I have strayed into a parallel universe of P G Wodehouse frolic I rate this as high praise for Anthony Powell, given the delight in the use of language and in the raucous goings on that have put Wodehouse among my favorite writersWasn t your father the chap who rode his horse upstairs after dinneris one of the conversations starters overheard in the Jeavons house Samuel Pepys also gets a nodding reference in relations to a country manor that we will probably visit in a later novel Romance is in the air, as Nick Jenkins, while still reticent in sharing with us details of his private love life, is for once determined to take the plungeWould it be too explicit, too exaggerated, to say that when I set eyes on Isobel Tolland, I knew at once that I should marry her Something like that is the truth certainly nearer the truth than merely to record those vague, inchoate sentiments of interest of which I was so immediately conscious It was as if I had known her for many years already enjoyed happiness with her and suffered sadness I wish Nick all the happiness in the world until the next time we meet him at the Dance, and I am grateful to him for pointing out that Lady Molly s house, after all, is not that different from my house or your house, from my family or my circle of friends, if only one cares to look under the surface Little about the house could be thought quiet, or conventional, when closely examined Perhaps, after all, when closely examined, no sort of individual life can truly be so labelled

  9. Steve says:

    A third of the way through this unique series, and I expect I ll continue at a modest pace to work through to the end The narrator and the cast of characters that revolve around him continue to interest and at times fascinate I can t say that I loved this book or that I m obsessed with starting the next one, but the content so far fully justifies continuing to see where things will go and how the relationships will play out.In many ways, one of the most intriguing aspects of the books an A third of the way through this unique series, and I expect I ll continue at a modest pace to work through to the end The narrator and the cast of characters that revolve around him continue to interest and at times fascinate I can t say that I loved this book or that I m obsessed with starting the next one, but the content so far fully justifies continuing to see where things will go and how the relationships will play out.In many ways, one of the most intriguing aspects of the books and the series is how neutral unassuming, at times, passive , vanilla, unexceptional Powell has crafted his protagonist It s not fair to describe Nick as a cipher, but it feels that, while he may be the axle around which the action spins, his actions seem largely irrelevant to what animates each book.On a book by book basis, and, particularly, on a chapter by chapter or page by page level, this is leisurely, languid stuff Nothing jaw dropping, but, similarly, reading the books is a comfortable and strangely compelling experience Today, it s very much a period piece almost like reading a male centric Jane Austen in serial form or, I m guessing, for some, like watching Downton Abbey lots of parlor room banter, social commentary, abstract observation, caste and status related jockeying, etc.One thing I find striking is that while the story line at least so far evolves between WWI and WWII, the books as I understand it , were originally published from 1951 to 1975 Nonetheless, it feels fresh and contemporary As literary, historical fiction goes, it s easy to see why it s stood the test of time.This may seem obvious, but my sense it would be ahuge mistake to read these out of order