Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Soldier's Art - post II

Powell is using a slightly different technique revealing that something is about to happen before it does so the next few pages are already set up. It mixes up the style a bit but it does remove some of the elements of surprise that were integral to the earlier volumes.

There is also a sense of reduced surprise as some of the old characters turn up.

If Jenkins thought he had fallen far working for Widmerpool he is disturbed to find Stringham working as a waiter in the mess. He tries to reach out to his old friend, a reformed but clearly damaged alcoholic, but he fails because Stringham cannot cope with the possible upheaval.

Meanwhile just as in the war time world portrayed by Waugh there is plenty of opportunity for characters to get bogged down in the politics of the labyrinthine command structure of the army. Widmerpool is determined to make enemies if he feels it will benefit his career but it looks as if he might have bitten off more than he can chew.

Jenkins almost benefits from bumping into a general who tries to fix him up with a job with the Free French but Jenkins blows the written and oral parts of the test. That starts his week of leave.

More tomorrow…

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