Wednesday, January 18, 2012

At Lady Molly’s: Book Four of A Dance to the Music of Time (by Anthony Powell)

I often go to check out Amazon reviews after I finish a book. There's one lone guy reviewing all of the books in this series, but I'm enjoying his thoughts on them. There's also a "popular highlights" feature for the Kindle edition, where you can see what other people highlighted on their Kindles. It's a little creepy that Amazon is tracking my highlights, but I do enjoy seeing what people decide to highlight. It's never the same stuff that I do. (Except this quote, for obvious reasons: "Women may show some discrimination about whom they sleep with, but they’ll marry anybody.")

I liked At Lady Molly's quite a bit. The beginning is slow, since yet more characters are introduced, but the narrator's observations of life continue to be witty and the characters are interesting (if perhaps somewhat too numerous and slightly difficult to keep track of at times). Strangely, in this book the narrator gets engaged, but there's almost nothing in there about the woman he's engaged to, or anything about their courtship at all. It's strange because in the previous book, there's a lot of detail about his love affair with another character. But maybe we'll get to spend more time with her in the next volume.

The other quibble I have is that it's getting to be way too coincidental for the narrator to happen to show up at almost every significant event or bump into all the main characters continuously or have seemingly every character divulge deep dark secrets to him. It's really the secrets thing that's the most glaring, since in a couple of cases towards the end of this book (Jeavons and Conyers) there's really no reason for them to have these explicit conversations with Nick, of all people. But the conversations themselves are interesting, so there you go.

"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 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."

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