Surface Level

Rhymes with "bowl" not "towel"What? You haven’t read Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time? Oh. Well. Then you’ve missed bits like this:

Barbara used to say: ‘Eleanor should never have been removed from the country. It is cruelty to animals.’ She was also fond of remarking: ‘Eleanor is not a bad old girl when you get to know her,’ a statement unquestionably true; but, since human life is lived largely at surface level, that encouraging possibility, true or false, did not appreciably lighten the burden of Eleanor’s partners.

Snarky Barbara and unwinsome Eleanor, here mere teens, are only two of the dozens and dozens of struggling Brits who meet, part, meet again and part again through the twelve novels (collected in four volumes which Powell called “movements”) that together make one big ol’ story. Dance covers fifty years (1920s to 70s) in the lives of English literati, artists, financiers, politicos and what we’d now call “media figures.”

I guess Dance is very nom de cleffy for those in the know, but I’m not the least in the know and I still liked it. You’d like it, too.

A Dance to the Music of Time
First Movement

by Anthony Powell
(University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 732pp.)

A Dance to the Music of Time
Second Movement

by Anthony Powell
(University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 746pp.)

A Dance to the Music of Time
Third Movement

by Anthony Powell
(University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 731pp.)

A Dance to the Music of Time
Fourth Movement

by Anthony Powell
(University of Chicago Press, Paperback, 804pp.)

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