If you feel like settling into an excellent 12 novel series then you can’t go wrong with A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. I first came across it when I watched the TV adaptation last year which was excellent and it made me want to re-live it by reading the books.
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They start in the interwar period with three main characters at their public school on the edge of their adult lives, which are tantalisingly just beyond their reach and imaginations. The first book A Question of Upbringing sees them move from schoolboy pranks to an in-between period before they start work in London or go up to University.
I’m not sure what these would be like to read if you haven’t first seen the series. I wonder if I would have got bored with the first book which is clearly setting the scene for all of their adult lives, but as I had a sense of their characters already I found it charming, gentle and delectably slow-moving. You experience the hot summer in France lazily passing by, the summer parties in country houses and the teas in rooms at College that took me back to my University days.
Having just finished Spring, which contains the first three books of the 12 in the series I can see that I will be having to buy the Summer, Autumn and Winter collections next. There is something particularly engaging about knowing, when they do not, the world history that is about to change their young lives. It’s also a study in how the people you least expect to succeed are often those who do.
If you have some time on your hands, sit back and enjoy following these characters through over 50 years of their lives from the early 1920s to the early 1970s, in a world that changes beyond recognition from the one in which they grew up.