Monday, September 15, 2008

The Miltary Philosophers - post I

One of the ambitions for this year is to finish the 12 novels that comprise Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Having reached book 9 this is the third and final novel covering the war years of the Second World War.

So far to be honest the other two volumes, A Soldier’s Art and Valley of Bones have not really hit the mark being dominated by wartime politics and the increasingly dislikeable character of Widmerpool.

Things start differently here with Jenkins working in a department that works with the allies that have been invaded. He works with the Poles and appears to be safely away from the figures of his past.

But they are always lurking and before long Widmerpool, who has worked his way into the Cabinet Office, reappears and along with him Templer and Fairbrother. Bit by bit the figures of the past reappear with Jenkins discovering that his driver is related to his other great school friend Stringham.

For the first half of the opening chapter there is a distance that Jenkins has which finally starts to break down as the memories start coming back and he discovers the Poles are using the old hotel in Bayswater that his Uncle Giles used to stay in. With the old names and locations coming this starts to settle back into the rhythm of old.

More tomorrow…

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