A couple of months ago, I obtained the First Movement of Anthony Powell's A Dance To The Music Of Time, which encompasses the first three books of the twelve book cycle. I had heard of this long work of literature through either Wikipedia, or my tentative researches into Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, of which I've only ever read the first two pages.
I had heard that Powell's novel sequence was daring, ingenious and of extremely high quality. I remember seeing the twelve novels sitting on the shelf at my local Chapters, and they looked interesting. I also really enjoy large challenges.
My big project for 2009 is to read the entire sequence, starting with A Question of Upbringing. Hopefully, I will review each individual volume as I go.
A Dance to the Music of Time is a semi-autobiographical roman a clef in which the narrator moves through life and society in England between the two World Wars. The title comes from the painting by Poussin, in which the Four Seasons dance around, in an endless cycle. The entire sequence is apparently about the great dance that we all do and the flow of time.
I began A Question of Upbringing three days ago and I'm almost finished. Powell has a very relaxed storytelling-style with a good amount of wit and plenty of bon mots. He's sort of like Oscar Wilde. I'm finding it very addicting; it's like a comedy of manners, with a much high ambition.
Of course, this is all in preparation for me to read À la recherche du temps perdu. I've read some of the greatest works of literature, and there's still way too much for me to even touch, but I will put in an effort. I also want to read War and Peace, but that seems very daunting right now. I will try.
Anyway, check back for my first review of the first novel in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time.