Thursday, September 25, 2008

Books do Furnish a Room - post III

If there is a change that has resulted from the war it is probably in the way that Jenkins makes friendships and the way in which he describes the people he meets.

Before the war he was immersed in a world where the same characters came round following the rhythm of the dance. But now some of those friends are dead and age has changed the way in which Jenkins makes friendships. Things now are much more about settling into middle age rather than the optimism and ambitions of the past.

As a result there is a detachment that creeps in to the description of the breakdown of Widmerpool’s marriage and the inner workings of Fission magazine. Jenkins is still in the thick of it but now seems to be recalling better days and to some degree better friends as he mingles with the writer Trapnel and the editor Bagshaw.

The other development is the starting of the Cold War that puts a lot of the pro-communist sympathisers in a difficult position forcing some, like Quiggin, to grow up a bit and face reality.

But from the point of view of the book’s impact on the today it is much more than the other works because this is more of a London that is touchable close to the distant past.

More tomorrow…

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