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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Unusual sentence structure and a very funny gag line: Dance to the Music of Time

Took a look at a website to try to get the clef to the roman a clef aspect of A Dance to the Music of Time and it does seem, despite Anthony Powell's demurring that most of the characters are based on actual people - all but one or two completely obscure to me - of composites of same. Good thing he as a novelist, even under Britain's stricter law, was protected against suits for libel - as so many of the characters are really devious - most especially Lord and Lady (Kenneth and Pamela) Widmerpool. In volume 11, Pamela's serial infidelities reach the point of mania, and so many other characters major and minor are skewered by Powell's sharp wit: example being the character newly appearing in this volume, Tokenhouse, an amateur artist living in Venice w/ strong views on everything and who imagines himself an artist as left-wing social critic. His work sounds pretty dreadful. Another "new" character in volume 11 is the American movie magnate and ladies' man, can't quite grasp his name here, but he is a precursor to Ted Turner (right down to the Montana ranch). It almost seems his entire reason for being (in this novel) is to build toward a gag line: describing the potential movie about a lovers shootout at his dude ranch, someone calls it The Western of the Playboy World. Ha! As in all previous volumes, the narrator, Nick, is a trenchant observer but hardly a participant in any of the action - unlike everyone else in his set, he has no outside dalliances or strong views on anything, and, as noted in previous posts, we know virtually nothing about his back story and even less about his wife and children. In these posts I virtually never quote from a printed page, but maybe tomorrow will have the copy beside me as I blog and quote a brief passage or two to give readers a sense of Powell's unique literary style: fairly simply languages and extremely complex sentence structure, like a mind at work, a complex mind.

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