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______________________________ 'He is, as Proust was before him, the great literary chronicler of his culture in his time.' GUARDIAN A Dance to the Music of Time is universally acknowledged as one of the great works of English literature. Reissued now in this definitive edition, it stands ready to delight and entrance a new generation of readers. In this second volume, Nick J ______________________________ 'He is, as Proust was before him, the great literary chronicler of his culture in his time.' GUARDIAN A Dance to the Music of Time is universally acknowledged as one of the great works of English literature. Reissued now in this definitive edition, it stands ready to delight and entrance a new generation of readers. In this second volume, Nick Jenkins is struggling to establish himself in London after graduating from university. As old friends come and go – Stringham takes the leap into marriage, Templer heads into the world of business and Widmerpool, confident in his own importance, begins a career in law – Nick starts to make new acquaintances, and throws himself into society life. In this new world of glamorous Debutante balls and leisurely country visits, Nick has his first encounter with love and its disappointments. ______________________________ These titles are currently being reissued. There is a chance that you may receive the edition with the classic cover instead of the cover displayed here.


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______________________________ 'He is, as Proust was before him, the great literary chronicler of his culture in his time.' GUARDIAN A Dance to the Music of Time is universally acknowledged as one of the great works of English literature. Reissued now in this definitive edition, it stands ready to delight and entrance a new generation of readers. In this second volume, Nick J ______________________________ 'He is, as Proust was before him, the great literary chronicler of his culture in his time.' GUARDIAN A Dance to the Music of Time is universally acknowledged as one of the great works of English literature. Reissued now in this definitive edition, it stands ready to delight and entrance a new generation of readers. In this second volume, Nick Jenkins is struggling to establish himself in London after graduating from university. As old friends come and go – Stringham takes the leap into marriage, Templer heads into the world of business and Widmerpool, confident in his own importance, begins a career in law – Nick starts to make new acquaintances, and throws himself into society life. In this new world of glamorous Debutante balls and leisurely country visits, Nick has his first encounter with love and its disappointments. ______________________________ These titles are currently being reissued. There is a chance that you may receive the edition with the classic cover instead of the cover displayed here.

30 review for A Buyer's Market

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kalliope

    2. -- A BUYER'S MARKET And so the Dance continues in its beginnings. The second period interval is still part of the dawn of times. The main contribution with this term is that the dancers begin to acquire shape. They also become much more numerous, and I now begin to fear a multitude, given how poor my memory for names is, when the do not have a face. Luckily I am accompanying my read with an audio version, which appropriately adds the musicality of the human voice to the dance. The brilliant 2. -- A BUYER'S MARKET And so the Dance continues in its beginnings. The second period interval is still part of the dawn of times. The main contribution with this term is that the dancers begin to acquire shape. They also become much more numerous, and I now begin to fear a multitude, given how poor my memory for names is, when the do not have a face. Luckily I am accompanying my read with an audio version, which appropriately adds the musicality of the human voice to the dance. The brilliant reader endows each name with a different voice, and so, if not their physical features, it is their accent, intonation, and timbre that helps me distinguish them all from each other. As the title indicates, at stake here are the professions that the young male characters have to start paving for themselves. When there are Buyers, there are also Sellers. The steps of the dancers in this volume involve finding their place in society: writing & painting and/or Money for the men, dancing & coming out (and/or Money) for the ladies. For what comes to the fore in the second act is that we are witnessing a choreography in which, as the various dancers chose their places, two sets will interplay with each other, possibly alternating between a harmonic and mellifluous pas de deus and a jarring, dissonant and antagonistic confrontation. Power and the Arts cavorting and frolicking in a dazed prance. But the dance continues and is beckoning me… I ought to go back.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    Bohemians and freeloaders, socialites and beautiful people are all in a hurry to partake in the agitated stirrings at the bottom of high society… The roaring twenties preside over the ball… Although these relatively exotic embellishments to the scene occurred within a framework on the whole commonplace enough, the shifting groups of the party created, as a spectacle, illusion of moving within the actual confines of a picture or tapestry, into the depths of which the personality of each new arrival Bohemians and freeloaders, socialites and beautiful people are all in a hurry to partake in the agitated stirrings at the bottom of high society… The roaring twenties preside over the ball… Although these relatively exotic embellishments to the scene occurred within a framework on the whole commonplace enough, the shifting groups of the party created, as a spectacle, illusion of moving within the actual confines of a picture or tapestry, into the depths of which the personality of each new arrival had to be automatically amalgamated. Vicissitudes and contrasts of living and loving reign over the characters while the raconteur stays in a stance of an ironic observer. The world is calling… The future is waiting…

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is the second novel in the Dance to the Music of Time series, following on from A Question of Upbringing. It is set in 1928, when our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is twenty one or two. However, it begins with a flashback to Paris just after WWI, when Nick has a chance meeting with an artist, Mr Deacon, an acquaintance of his parents. This introduction serves the reader to understand the various relationships in Nick’s life, as he meets up with Mr Deacon again after a dinner party at the Walpole- This is the second novel in the Dance to the Music of Time series, following on from A Question of Upbringing. It is set in 1928, when our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is twenty one or two. However, it begins with a flashback to Paris just after WWI, when Nick has a chance meeting with an artist, Mr Deacon, an acquaintance of his parents. This introduction serves the reader to understand the various relationships in Nick’s life, as he meets up with Mr Deacon again after a dinner party at the Walpole-Wilsons. We are very aware of the time period in which this is written. This is very much the London of the Bright Young Things, when Nick – now working in publishing – seems to spend most of his time at dinner parties, ‘low’ parties and house parties. During this constant gaiety – at one point, people are veering between two parties held in the same square – you sense a certain desperate sense of looking to be entertained and entertaining. The book is full of chance encounters. Through Mr Deacon, Nick is introduced to Barnby and Gypsy Jones. Other characters, from A Question of Upbringing, also appear – including Charles Stringham, Sillery, Uncle Giles and Widmerpool. Although a figure of fun at school, Widmerpool is certainly becoming a man of ambition and, throughout this book, we are aware that Nick has a slight dissatisfaction with his career, his romantic life and the way his lifestyle compares unfavourably with his contemporaries. These novels are very much a series and, although they do work as stand-alone books, it is much better – and makes more sense – to read them in the order they are intended to be read in.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    The second part of the twelve-step dance around time and memory from Anthony Powell picks up the story of his alter-ego, Nicholas Jenkins, a few years after he finishes school and moves to London, probably around 1925. I am grateful to the group read of the Dance for motivating me to keep to the schedule of one book per month, thus keeping things fresh in my mind and offering bonus material in the discussion pages. Being familiar with the style of presentation and with some of the characters hel The second part of the twelve-step dance around time and memory from Anthony Powell picks up the story of his alter-ego, Nicholas Jenkins, a few years after he finishes school and moves to London, probably around 1925. I am grateful to the group read of the Dance for motivating me to keep to the schedule of one book per month, thus keeping things fresh in my mind and offering bonus material in the discussion pages. Being familiar with the style of presentation and with some of the characters helped me enjoy this month's offer a little more than the debut. I can spot now the way each chapter begins with a catalyst for memory and with a short key for interpreting the events, and how each chapter has a sort of moral and lesson learned from experience. Jenkins remains a little bland and amorphous, a perfect witness of the times rather than an active participant, but his growing up is evident by the end of the book, even if it comes at a slow and introspective pace. I have grown quite fond of Nick and of his reserved demeanour, mostly for the way he keeps his curiosity alive and for how he tries to understand people without judging them. Jenkins reminds me strongly of one of my favorite quotes from Sir Terry Pratchett: “The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.” - Terry Pratchett] If the catalyst of the first volume (the Proustian 'madeleine') was watching some workers dig a road in winter, this time memory is triggered by a set of canvases painted by an old family friend. Jenkins remembers mr. Deacon as an unconventional figure, out of synch with both the classical and the modern styles in painting, trying to find his own artistic path yet being either ridiculed or ignored by the establishemnt. The canvases were none of them familiar, but they recalled especially, with all kind of other things, dinner at the Walpole-Wilsons', reviving with a jerk that phase of early life. They made me think of long-forgotten conflicts and compromises between the imagination and the will, reason and feeling, power and sensuality; together with many more specifically personal sensations, experienced in the past, of pleasure and pain. The opening scene elegantly sets up what appears to be the main dychotomy of the epic : the relationship between the world of power (materialism) and the world of art (spirituality). Jumping to a later point of the present novel, this aspect is spelled out even more clearly when the closing scene brings in focus another painter friend of Jenkins, this time an exponent of the younger generation named Barnby: His life's unusual variety of form provided a link between what I came, in due course, to recognise as the world of Power, as represented, for example, by the ambitions of Widmerpool and Truscott, and the imaginative life in which a painter's time is of necessity largely spent: the imagination, in such cases, being primarily of a visual kind. I referred to the first novel in the series in musical terms, as a symphony of many voices. The second one develops more as a tapestry, weaving together lives and images into a more coherent panoramic view of its period. The narrative is more insightful and more elaborate, as a normal consequence of Jenkins passing from childhood to maturity, expanding his horizons and his areas of interest while maintaining a thematic continuity and a goal of extracting the universal truths from particular incidents. Mr Deacon's reappearance at that season seemed not only to indicate divorce of maturity from childhood, but also to emphasise the dependence of those two states one upon the other. The particular incidents of great significance in this second episode are as follows : - a formal dinner and debutante ball Jenkins attends at the Walpole-Wilsons' London mansion, including an infamous sugar incident - an after party of the high society given by a Mrs. Andriadis in London, on the same night, in the company of mr. Deacon, Gypsy Jones, Stringham, a prince from the Balkans and many others - a visit to the country residence of Sir Magnus Donner, at the castle Stourwater - a dinner at the Widmerpool home, coupled with a birthday party for Mr. Deacon, the painter. I have identified two common factors in all four scenes : the active participation of Widmerpool in all four, and the personal quest of Jenkins to unravel the eternal mystery of feminity (... or to get laid, if I were to use the coarser third millenium verbalisation, an expression that our friend Nick probably would find repulsive, given his coy and oblique mentions of the subject throughout the novel) I must have been about twenty-one or twenty-two at the time, and held then many rather wild ideas on the subject of women: conceptions largely the result of having read a good deal without simultaneous opportunity to modify by personal experience the recorded judgment of others upon that matter: estimates often excellent in their conclusions if correctly interpreted, though requiring practical knowledge to be appreciated at their full value. This shy and elaborate style forms a good part of the charm of Jenkins for me, and I am of the opinion that our modern lives are poorer for the trivialization of our finer sentiments. 'Cringe' comedy is one of the recent fads I would like to bury somewhere deep and out of the beaten track. I mentioned comedy because some of the efforts of Nick Jenkins to woe the young ladies of London are quite funny, in their own stiff-upper-lip way (view spoiler)[ like Nick deciding that he doesn't really love Barbara Goring after he sees her pour a full saucer of sugar on Widmerpool's head; by the end of the novel Nick is so vague and pudic that the reader still wonders if he finally did it or not. He also, even in his moments of bliss, still thinks in terms of art: "Gypsy lay upon the divan, her hands before her, looking perhaps rather self-consciously, a little like Goya's Maja desnuda - or possibly it would be nearer the mark to cite that picture's derivative, Manet's Olympia, which I had, as it happened, heard her mention on some former occasion - she glanced down, with satisfaction, at her own extremities." (hide spoiler)] . In a way, Nick reminds me of my own early twenties, when I had the roving eye and used to imagine how it would be to fall in love with every pretty girl I saw at parties... of being in love with the idea of love: On the way down in the train I had felt that it would be enjoyable to meet some new girl, even at risk of becoming once more victim to the afflictions from which I had only recently emerged. and, Mrs. Wentworth was, outwardly, the more remarkable of the pair, on account of the conspicuous force of her personality: a characteristic accentuated by the simplicity of her dress, short curly hair, and look of infinite slyness. Lady Ardglass was more like a caryatid, or ships figurehead, though for that reason no less superb. As an older man looking back at the folly of his youth, Nick is able to take a less sanguine atitude towards these ladies and towards his romantic feelings: This affair with Barbara, although taking up less than a year, seemed already to have occupied a substantial proportion of my life; because nothing establishes the timelessness of Time like those episodes of early experience seen, on re-examination at a later period, to have been crowded together with such unbelievable closeness in the course of a few years; yet equally giving the illusion of being so infinitely extended during the months when actually taking place. A list of all these love interests of young Jenkins could get quite long, but somewhere along the line I got to thinking about the significance of the title for this second novel in the series, which I suspect is a double entendre, referring both to the lack of suitable young men in the aftermath of the World War II and to the world of Power, where some are called forward based less on their intrinsic abilities and more on the strength of their connections. Widmerpool's presence was 'proof of the insurmountable difficulties experienced by hostesses in their untiring search for young men at almost any price. The last quote brings me around finally to what appears to be the central figure of the dance, at least according to Jenkins who 'accidentally' runs into his old school mate in the most unlikely places. I did not, however, as yet see him as one of those symbolic figures, of whom most people possess at least one example, if not more, round whom the past and the future have a way of assembling. I was confounded in the opening volume by the importance accorded to this oddball personage in the economy of the story, and the bafflement continues in the second book, although Widmerpool's character slowly begins to make sense, like an image gradually coming in focus on photographic paper after being exposed to light. Likewise, the reader understands more about what Widmerpool stands for after each new encounter between him and Jenkins. The final picture is still probably a few volumes away. The same technique is deployed by Powell for all the recurring characters in his saga, with other school friends and acquaintances making a comeback under fresh circumstances : Stringham, Sillery, Templer and his sister, Truscott, Mark Members and Quiggin. Newly introduced characters, like Archie Gilbert - the dandy who lives is invited to all society balls ("he danced his life away through the ball-rooms of London in the unshakable conviction that the whole thing was a sham.) - or the painter Barnby, may play a greater role in later books, yet it is Widmerpool who seems to stay the longest in the limelight for now: True to old form, there was still something indefinably odd about the cut of his white waistcoat; while he retained that curiously piscine cast of countenance, projecting the impression that he swam, rather than walked, though the rooms he haunted. Powell is at his best when he makes his observations of human nature, both explaining and holding back his judgement while he tries to remain truthfull to the perspective and current experience of his narrator Jenkins. The author also enchants with his use of the English language, approaching P G Wodehouse in his search for the most evocative and beautiful turn of phrase. I love diving to the dictionary in order to make sense of 'minatory quiescence' even as I know I will have scant chance to use the expression in everyday conversations. Widmerpool still represented to my mind a kind of embodiment of thankless labour and unsatisfied ambition, [...] forever floundering towards the tape in races never won. and, The illusion that egoists will be pleased, or flattered, by interest taken in their habits persists throughout life; whereas, in fact, persons like Widmerpool, in complete subjection to the ego, are, by nature of that infirmity, prevented from supposing that the minds of others could possibly be occupied by any subject far distant from the egotist's own affairs. Implied here is the fact that such impressions and judgements are liable to evolve over time, to change into something else as Jenkins will grow older. Nick will probably be drifting towards the artistic side of the equation of life, what he calls Bohemianism. He is already working for a small publishing house putting out art albums, and he is writing in his spare time essays and studies 'in the manner of Montaigne' , but I have a feeling the world of Power will also still intrude upon Jenkins and his circle of friends. Whatever the imperfections of the situation from which I had just emerged, matters could be considered with justice only in relation to a much larger configuration, the vast composition of which was at present - that at least was clear - by no means even nearly completed. With this elegant conclusion that we never stop learning as long as we live, I am ready to dive into the third book of the dance. Before that, I have a few more bookmarks that I would like to remember from the present novel: on the subject of finding the universal in the particular, Nick gains ... a belief that existence fans out indefinitely into new areas of experience, and that almost every additional acquaintance offers some supplementary world with its own hazards and enchantments. As time goes on, of course, these supposedly different worlds, in fact, draw closer, if not to each other, then to some pattern common to all. >><<>><< on parting from a friend : I certainly felt sad that I should not see Mr. X again. The milestones provided by him had now come to and end. The road stretched forward still. >><<>><< on the quest for love, growing up is often associated with heartbreak and disillusionment : ... in so far as I was personally involved in matters of sentiment, the season was, romantically speaking, autumn indeed, and the leaves had undeniably fallen from the trees so far as former views on love were concerned: even though such views had been held by me only so short a time before. >><<>><<

  5. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    I've wondered from time to time what Max Pilgrim's smutty song Tess of Le Touquet actually sounded like. Yesterday, thanks to Yllacaspia, I was introduced to Fiji Fanny. I can't help feeling that there might be some connection here... what do other Dancers think?

  6. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "It is no good being a beauty alone on a desert island." -- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market "For reasons not always at the time explicable, there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that, before we really know where we are, life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we, ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity." -- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's "It is no good being a beauty alone on a desert island." -- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market "For reasons not always at the time explicable, there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that, before we really know where we are, life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we, ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity." -- Anthony Powell, A Buyer's Market Book One (A Question of Upbringing) of Powell's monster 12-book 'A Dance to the Music of Time' dealt primarily with Nick and his fellow students during their last year in public school and first couple years either "up" at University or "down" in the city working. The four major players in the first book: Nicholas Jenkins (the narrator), Charles Stringham, Peter Templer, and Kenneth Widmerpool. These characters all show up again in Book 2. Along with various other characters (Nick's uncle, Jean Templer, Mark Members, JG Quiggin, Bill Truscott, etc.). Book Two ('A Buyer's Market') deals with Nick and some new characters, and many of the old, as they maneuver through the social dinners, dances and teas that seem designed to both stratify society AND bring together these young people together to get married; to find adequate husbands for daughters and satisfy the social or monetary need of the men who are just starting to 'make something' of their lives. Events seem to guide the paths of these people in and out of each others lives. Probably the most painful to watch is Widmerpool, who seems always to exist in a socially difficult place and constantly dealing with sugary embarrassments. I love how art is taking on a larger presence in his novels. Not a surprising fact given that the book itself is named after a painting with the same name by Nicolas Poussin. But, internal to the book, it makes sense given that Edgar Bosworth Deacon (an artist) plays a part and that Nick is now working in a publishing house devoted to art books. There are parts of this novel that, obviously, bring to mind Marcel Proust, but a lot of the first two novels, at least, seem substantively more related to both Evelyn Waugh and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wonder if the either the character of Members/Quiggin is, in fact, E. Waugh. And if so, who the other writer "is". Anyway, there is enough good writing here, and I'm deep enough into the books, that I think I'm at least marginally hooked. Unless, the final book of the 1st Moment is a complete dud, I think I'm in for a season, in for a year.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    "A Buyer's Market" is the second book in Anthony Powell's twelve novel sequence "A Dance To The Music of Time" and it picks up the narrative in 1928, via a flashback to Paris where narrator Nick Jenkins introduces us to an artist called Mr Deacon. Nick is now in his early twenties and whilst more grown up, still uncertain of his place in the world. I assume this explains the book's title. Nick and his contemporaries are searching for money, jobs, sex, social status etc. and their search takes th "A Buyer's Market" is the second book in Anthony Powell's twelve novel sequence "A Dance To The Music of Time" and it picks up the narrative in 1928, via a flashback to Paris where narrator Nick Jenkins introduces us to an artist called Mr Deacon. Nick is now in his early twenties and whilst more grown up, still uncertain of his place in the world. I assume this explains the book's title. Nick and his contemporaries are searching for money, jobs, sex, social status etc. and their search takes them to a succession of social events that Nick recounts in the same first hand manner of "A Question of Upbringing". Also, in common with "A Question of Upbringing", it's full of day-to-day detail and Nick's perception of those he encounters. How reliable is Nick as a narrator? He frequently revises his opinions about those he meets not least Widmerpool whose personal journey continues apace. The narrative technique adds to the sense of surprise and gives the book a few memorable twists. For me Widmerpool is very much the star of the shown and I love the way he kept turning up in ever more incongruous and unexpected places - constantly surprising and confounding Nick Jenkins. There are also, and again in common with the first book, some moments of sublime humour, and much of the exquisite writing has a pleasing and playful tone. I enjoyed this book every bit as much as "A Question of Upbringing", and now look forward to reading the third instalment, "The Acceptance World". Reading the first two instalments of "A Dance To The Music of Time" has been an absolute joy and akin to the pleasure of slipping into a hot bath. I recommend both books and eagerly anticipate completing the journey from 1914 to 1971 - and discovering what happens to Nick and his group. 4/5 The twelve books of "A Dance to the Music of Time" are available individually or as four volumes. Spring A Question of Upbringing – (1951) A Buyer's Market – (1952) The Acceptance World – (1955) Summer At Lady Molly's – (1957) Casanova's Chinese Restaurant – (1960) The Kindly Ones – (1962) Autumn The Valley of Bones – (1964) The Soldier's Art – (1966) The Military Philosophers – (1968) Winter Books Do Furnish a Room – (1971) Temporary Kings – (1973) Hearing Secret Harmonies – (1975) (dates are first UK publication dates) Click here to see my review of A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time #1) Click here to see my review of The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time #3)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    "A Buyer's Market" takes the narrator, Nick Jenkins, to London in the late 1920s. Much of the novel is set at either upscale parties, or with a group of bohemians that revolve around the artist Mr Deacon. The title of the book suggests that the parties are a kind of marketplace. People attend the parties to meet marriage prospects and sexual partners. The parties are also an opportunity to make business contacts, the 1920s version of networking. It was important to climb the social ladder by ming "A Buyer's Market" takes the narrator, Nick Jenkins, to London in the late 1920s. Much of the novel is set at either upscale parties, or with a group of bohemians that revolve around the artist Mr Deacon. The title of the book suggests that the parties are a kind of marketplace. People attend the parties to meet marriage prospects and sexual partners. The parties are also an opportunity to make business contacts, the 1920s version of networking. It was important to climb the social ladder by mingling with people of a high social class. "A Buyer's Market" introduces the reader to new characters and revisits Jenkins' friends from school. Jenkins is also spending time with artists and writers. Kenneth Winmerpool resurfaces and seems to be especially determined to be successful in business. He tells Jenkins, "No woman who takes my mind off my work is ever to play a part in my life in the future." The book left me wondering what's to come in the third book of the series, "The Acceptance World".

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From Wiki: A Buyer's Market is the second novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time. Published in 1952, it continues the story of narrator Nick Jenkins with his introduction into society after boarding school and university. The book presents new characters, notably the painter Mr. Deacon and his dubious female acquaintance Gypsy Jones, as well as reappearances by Jenkins' school friends Peter Templer, Charles Stringham and Kenneth Widmerpool. The action takes pla From Wiki: A Buyer's Market is the second novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-novel series, A Dance to the Music of Time. Published in 1952, it continues the story of narrator Nick Jenkins with his introduction into society after boarding school and university. The book presents new characters, notably the painter Mr. Deacon and his dubious female acquaintance Gypsy Jones, as well as reappearances by Jenkins' school friends Peter Templer, Charles Stringham and Kenneth Widmerpool. The action takes place in London high society in the late 1920s, focusing on a handful of close-knit incidents which illustrate the flowing and weaving nature of the passage of time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I adore this series so much, the 1920s setting, the characters, the parties, the hints at things to come. Brilliant and hilarious.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    I am quite mesmerised by Anthony Powell's style now that I have got used to it. The long rolling sentences remind me in a way of the themes in Rachmaninov's symphonies, which roll on and on and sweep the listener with them. The following description of one of the characters gives a flavour of Powell's style: "She dressed usually in tones of brown and green, colours that gave her for some reason, possibly because her hats almost always conveyed the impression of being peaked, an air of belonging t I am quite mesmerised by Anthony Powell's style now that I have got used to it. The long rolling sentences remind me in a way of the themes in Rachmaninov's symphonies, which roll on and on and sweep the listener with them. The following description of one of the characters gives a flavour of Powell's style: "She dressed usually in tones of brown and green, colours that gave her for some reason, possibly because her hats almost always conveyed the impression of being peaked, an air of belonging to some dedicated order of female officials, connected possibly with public service in the woods and forests, and bearing a load of responsibility, the extent of which was difficult for a lay person - even impossible if a male - to appreciate, or wholly to understand." I took a long time reading this book because of other things coming between me and it, not because of a lack of enjoyment. I have now embarked on the third volume.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    In book 2, Nick and his school friends are in their 20's, and have entered the real world of work and pleasure. The excellent writing continues, with intimations of complications ahead.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    In this, the second novel in Powell’s twelve-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time (and the books absolutely must be read sequentially!), new personages are introduced: Mr. Deacon, Barnby, Barbara Goring, the Walpole-Wilsons; and Widmerpool reappears. The events in the book occur four or five years following those in the previous book, A Question of Upbringing, during which interval Nick has not seen Charles Stringham. In chapter after chapter, indeed in novel after novel, characters and t In this, the second novel in Powell’s twelve-volume series, A Dance to the Music of Time (and the books absolutely must be read sequentially!), new personages are introduced: Mr. Deacon, Barnby, Barbara Goring, the Walpole-Wilsons; and Widmerpool reappears. The events in the book occur four or five years following those in the previous book, A Question of Upbringing, during which interval Nick has not seen Charles Stringham. In chapter after chapter, indeed in novel after novel, characters and themes weave in and out like threads in a tapestry, some reappearing quickly, others only after a long absence, leitmotifs uniting and knitting the narrative. The total effect is dense and pleasing, creating a world that keeps flowing ever onward, kaleidoscopically, in a manner endlessly entertaining. I am fascinated to watch Powell develop the character of Widmerpool, largely via his interactions with Nick and Nick’s impressions and conclusions about him; every revelation suggests deeper levels of complexity and nuance, with the promise that these will eventually bring to light unexpected revelations. Are we learning more about Nick Jenkins himself as this novel unfolds? I think so, in bits and snatches, and more as he responds to events around him than through any direct description of his day-to-day life. He seems at times a little passive, but perhaps that is because his role in the series of novels is more of an observer than a primary participant. Powell’s subtlety and skill are everywhere evident, along with his masterful and subtle wit. What a treat it is to revisit these works. Sentences like this fascinate and charm me: “Sir Magnus himself did not talk much, save intermittently to express some general opinion, which, when during a comparative silence his words were wafted to the farther end of the table, on the lips of a lesser man would have suggested processes of thought of a banality so painful - of such profound and arid depths, in which neither humour, nor imagination, nor, indeed, any form of human understanding could be thought to play the smallest part - that I almost supposed him to be speaking ironically, or teasing his guest by acting the part of a bore in a drawing-room comedy.” The book ends thus: “…there are specific occasions when events begin suddenly to take on a significance previously unsuspected; so that, before we really know where we are, life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has take place, are careering uncontrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity.” Through Nick’s words, Powell makes this comment which admirably sums up the entire series of novels: “…that extraordinary process that causes certain figures to appear and reappear in the performance of one or another sequence of what I have already compared with a ritual dance.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hazel

    I found this more difficult than Book 1 and it's taken me several weeks to finish. I think I've had, at least, two problems. First, I've had great difficulty caring about Powell's characters. I don't need to like them. After all, sometimes the most compelling characters are unlikeable. But so far, I feel quite indifferent to them. (And there are dozens!) Their dialogue is opaque, their motivations murky and their stories meaningless to me. And perhaps that's because what I'm experiencing is cult I found this more difficult than Book 1 and it's taken me several weeks to finish. I think I've had, at least, two problems. First, I've had great difficulty caring about Powell's characters. I don't need to like them. After all, sometimes the most compelling characters are unlikeable. But so far, I feel quite indifferent to them. (And there are dozens!) Their dialogue is opaque, their motivations murky and their stories meaningless to me. And perhaps that's because what I'm experiencing is cultural dissonance. This particular class of people, in this place at this time in history, just seem too alien. It's as if the author is speaking a different language. I know Powell is well-regarded and Dance is considered his masterpiece, so clearly the failing is mine. A failure of imagination, perhaps? Still, I persevere. Book 3 awaits.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Renee M

    It's interesting to see Nick Jenkins and the other young men from A Question of Upbringing in their 20s in the 20s. Some fascinating new characters emerge. Lots of art and social commentary. But mostly the deliciously wonderful writing that just rolls over the reader in a salty surf of words. :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    A BUYER'S MARKET, the second volume of Anthony Powell's 12-volume sequence "A Dance to the Music of Times" is a considerably more ambitious work than the first. While A QUESTION OF UPBRINGING was an enjoyable if something lightweight look back at narrator Nicholas Jenkins' days at school and university, now we see him entering the ballrooms of high society while also discovering the London demimonde of the late 1920s. The novel is impressive in form also. Nearly the entire first half of the nove A BUYER'S MARKET, the second volume of Anthony Powell's 12-volume sequence "A Dance to the Music of Times" is a considerably more ambitious work than the first. While A QUESTION OF UPBRINGING was an enjoyable if something lightweight look back at narrator Nicholas Jenkins' days at school and university, now we see him entering the ballrooms of high society while also discovering the London demimonde of the late 1920s. The novel is impressive in form also. Nearly the entire first half of the novel is dedicated to a single evening, where Jenkins describes the participants of a dinner, a dance and a seedy part in exhaustive detail. Here we see more clearly than the first novel Powell's conception of his social circle over the decades as a dance. Stringham and Widmerpool, among other characters from the first novel, enter Jenkins' life again after a gap of several years, but no sooner do they show up than they are cast away by new fates. With Jenkins' greater maturity comes a recognition of more important societal concerns in 1920s England. One character's awkwardly closeted homosexuality creates complications for Jenkins' circle, as does the need for a young female character to procure an abortion when it was seriously illegal. By the end of the novel, Jenkins has even entered among political radicals, who go on to play a large role in the third volume of the series. Perhaps Powell isn't for everyone. I've sometimes heard people call it downright unjust that this author sees so much universal importance in what is essentially gossip about a handful of upper-class people, when the masses of early 20th century Britain were still fighting for their rights. Also, the delicacy with which sexual matters are treated in this novel -- a major part of the plot but never overtly presented -- may annoy contemporary readers. Nonetheless, I have to say that I enjoy Powell's world. Its characters are three-dimensional, memorable and always reminscent of people we know in our own lives. As I write this, I look forward to going on and re-reading THE ACCEPTANCE WORLD. All twelve volumes of "A Dance to the Music of Time" have been reissued by University of Chicago Press in four handsome trade paperbacks. If you think you're going to go the distance, that's a better investment than older editions of the individual volumes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justin Evans

    Nothing in the first novel of ADMT really prepares you for this. There you get short introductions to characters, traditional plot movements, transparent prose and above all variety. With A Buyer's Market we're suddenly in the realm of Proust volume three, which is pretty much a party described over hundreds of pages. Say what you will about Powell. This is shorter than Le Côté de Guermantes. I wonder if Marias, anglophile that he is, took as much from Powell as from Proust to write Your Face To Nothing in the first novel of ADMT really prepares you for this. There you get short introductions to characters, traditional plot movements, transparent prose and above all variety. With A Buyer's Market we're suddenly in the realm of Proust volume three, which is pretty much a party described over hundreds of pages. Say what you will about Powell. This is shorter than Le Côté de Guermantes. I wonder if Marias, anglophile that he is, took as much from Powell as from Proust to write Your Face Tomorrow? Anyway, as in Proust (and Marias), we're pretty much without plot, something of which I often disapprove. Things happen, but they're reported in dialogue rather than narrated, and the things that happen are, unsurprisingly given that the narrator is in his mid twenties, mostly sex and drinking and the results of sex and drinking, until Mr. Deacon dies, probably due to drinking. There's no grit here, just humor. It could easily be Wodehouse, with less plot. But the form of the novel is breath-taking. We begin, for no obvious reason, with Mr. Deacon, his late-decadent, Alma-Tadema-esque painting, and his antique shop. We conclude with his death, which is followed, uncomfortably, by the narrator fucking Mr. Deacon's young lady friend (who, uncomfortably, has fooled Widmerpool into paying for an abortion, probably by promising him her favors, and then not actually given him any favors) in Deacon's antique shop. So the narrator's generation takes over from that of their parents: Deacon dies, Uncle Giles is rendered more and more silly, and even the high and mighty end up looking much more down to earth. Characters from 'A Question of Upbringing' have attained some notoriety in their fields. The musical analogy starts to make sense, too, both with the 'return' of Deacon at the end, and with motifs from AQU showing up again (notably the car accident). In short, ABM is funnier than AQU, but not as entertaining. As an artifact to think about, though, it's much more impressive. Also, Powell's prose becomes more Jamesian here. I can't remember if that keeps up through the other volumes, or not.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    It's the "Roaring '20s", a time of dances, dinner parties and late night gatherings for the fashionable London crowd that our narrator, Nick Jenkins, hangs with. There are ladies, some young, some not so young, whose charms, at first, infatuate and who eventually go on to disappoint the young Jenkins. Many memorable characters from "A Question of Upbringing" are here as well including schoolmates Widmerpool, Stringham and Peter Templer. All seemed to be gainfully employed and moving up in their It's the "Roaring '20s", a time of dances, dinner parties and late night gatherings for the fashionable London crowd that our narrator, Nick Jenkins, hangs with. There are ladies, some young, some not so young, whose charms, at first, infatuate and who eventually go on to disappoint the young Jenkins. Many memorable characters from "A Question of Upbringing" are here as well including schoolmates Widmerpool, Stringham and Peter Templer. All seemed to be gainfully employed and moving up in their various careers, although we not given too many details about careers here. Instead, Mr. Powell chooses, through his characters, to discuss art, literature, social class and relationships. He does so in precise, witty prose that beautifully describes Jenkins' thoughts, observations and reflections on this unique period. There are interesting new characters presented here as well including the enigmatic Mr. Deacon and the mysterious Gypsy Jones among others. At times funny, sad and poignant, "A Buyer's Market" is a worthy sequel and this reader is looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Still waiting for the plot to form, but that prose! How can someone weave such deliciously intricate sentences is beyond me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Catullus2

    Missing some of the humor of the first volume but still brilliant.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    OK so book 1 was uni, book 2 is knocking around parties trying out relationships/ideas for careers, all the while storing up little nuggets of plot that we keep getting told will be important later... Blimey, how much later!? I've read 2 books already! I'm sure Powell has done something very clever/impressive, and I will read book 3 (as I've already bought it), but I seriously doubt that the other 9 will work their way into my TBR pile any time soon...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom Ewing

    Each of the novels of ADTTMOT makes a claim - with varying degrees of conviction - to stand alone, with characters and plots resolved within a single volume. The intricate, lopsided, A Buyer's Market follows two such strands. First, the life of Edgar Deacon, a bad painter and family friend of narrator Nick Jenkins' whose reappearance helps put in motion his escape from the world of balls and debutantes the book opens in. Second, Nick's troubles with women, an overlapping series of largely passiv Each of the novels of ADTTMOT makes a claim - with varying degrees of conviction - to stand alone, with characters and plots resolved within a single volume. The intricate, lopsided, A Buyer's Market follows two such strands. First, the life of Edgar Deacon, a bad painter and family friend of narrator Nick Jenkins' whose reappearance helps put in motion his escape from the world of balls and debutantes the book opens in. Second, Nick's troubles with women, an overlapping series of largely passive romantic or erotic obsessions, some lasting months, some a hours, which contribute to his sense of the world moving rapidly on past him. A Buyer's Market is the story of his negotiation of these twin frustrations, social and sexual. (For what it's worth, Powell captures both of these things authentically, from my experience - the pointillist exhaustion of infatuation, and the sense of drift and flux as you move around and between social circles in early adulthood, gradually being pulled into one or two on a more full-time basis. For me, Powell's writing in A Buyer's Market is baggier than in the novels either side of it, but some passages - the squares and parks of nighttime London pulsing with the distant noise of rival dance bands, for instance - caught at something painful and poignant about the uncertain and hectic social life of summers when you're young. Even if you spent them at shit indie discos not coming-out balls.) As usual, Nick's own progress is the background theme to the formal action, as every other character has a more dynamic time of it, even if we only glimpse their advancing stories in vignettes and snatches of conversation. Compared to the fairly tight cast of A Question Of Upbringing, the second book is a mosaic of names, as Jenkins shifts around four distinct but interlocked social worlds. (It could be called Four Parties and a Funeral). The silly formality of the London Season; the richer and more decadent high society milieu it borders; country house parties and the professional world at play; and the grubbier end of intellectual London. The bulk of the book - a solid two-thirds - takes place at two parties across a single night. It's one of the cycle's best set-pieces, and constantly referred to by characters for several books to come. By dawn, as Jenkins heads exhausted for home, the beginning of the night seems half a lifetime ago - in terms of pagecount, it nearly is.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Mcangus

    A logical continuation on from the first book, that sees Jenkins and friends flirt with society life and become rather self reflective because of it. While I'm not quite invested in the characters yet (the story needs come conflict) they are growing on me, but I think the plot needs to expand somewhat before their lives have some context. It is a better book that the first though: Powell's prose remains a key attraction and I found London society life more interesting that the school days of the A logical continuation on from the first book, that sees Jenkins and friends flirt with society life and become rather self reflective because of it. While I'm not quite invested in the characters yet (the story needs come conflict) they are growing on me, but I think the plot needs to expand somewhat before their lives have some context. It is a better book that the first though: Powell's prose remains a key attraction and I found London society life more interesting that the school days of the previous novel. This is principally because the parties Jenkins attends produce some interesting characters and amusing moments. What lets the overall plot down in my opinion, was how the established characters from the previous book were reintroduced. Events that first seems unlikely, soon becomes ridiculous happenstance, that caused me to shake my head on more than one occasion. Now, due to me being significantly dumber than Powell, it's entirely possible this is on purpose and is in fact a comment on devices found in other literature. But nevertheless, from a purely plot perspective, I found the meetings detracted from my immersion in the novel. On to the next one (at some point).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Val

    It is considered an axiom that a writer should have an exciting beginning to a novel to draw readers in and encourage them to continue. Anthony Powell starts with a discourse about a minor, unfashionable artist Nick's parents knew and he met a few times before mentioning Barbara Goring, Nick's first and possibly only serious love. We also know, quite early in the book, that Nick and Barbara's romance does not prosper to a happy conclusion because later he is no longer invited to dine with her un It is considered an axiom that a writer should have an exciting beginning to a novel to draw readers in and encourage them to continue. Anthony Powell starts with a discourse about a minor, unfashionable artist Nick's parents knew and he met a few times before mentioning Barbara Goring, Nick's first and possibly only serious love. We also know, quite early in the book, that Nick and Barbara's romance does not prosper to a happy conclusion because later he is no longer invited to dine with her uncle and aunt, so Powell also dispenses with suspense. So why should you read on? For one thing, Widmerpool turns up (and to make us readers appreciate the appearance of such an unhappy, driven, humourless character is masterful) and because Powell is such a stunningly good writer. In addition to that, don't you want to know what goes wrong between Nick and Barbara or which other characters might turn up, new and old?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn

    Second time round - still wonderful. Nick, Widmerpool, Stringham, Mr Deacon and the gang go round the merry go round of time again in a buyers market: for love, power and art. But don’t blink - the door is open for a moment and then shuts again - with some players off the Field and the stakes higher. Powell has been called the British Proust - and the subject is the passing of time and the life lived within. And Powell is so hilarious and entertaining - with set pieces of four parties in the 192 Second time round - still wonderful. Nick, Widmerpool, Stringham, Mr Deacon and the gang go round the merry go round of time again in a buyers market: for love, power and art. But don’t blink - the door is open for a moment and then shuts again - with some players off the Field and the stakes higher. Powell has been called the British Proust - and the subject is the passing of time and the life lived within. And Powell is so hilarious and entertaining - with set pieces of four parties in the 1920s. The writing is effervescent and full of witty asides - with passages of pure poetry - describing life and the ambiance of the settings and era and time of life. Read and enjoy!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ian Brydon

    The second volume of Powell's epic roman fleuve opens with the narrator, Nick Jenkins, presumably in middle age or beyond, looking through the wares on offer at a downmarket auction and recognising four paintings by E Bosworth Deacon. This prompts Jenkins to recollect his earliest encounter with Mr Deacon, who had been a friend of his parents, and whom they had chanced upon during a visit to the Louuvre shotly after the end of the First World War. (Jenkins’s father had been a delegate at one of The second volume of Powell's epic roman fleuve opens with the narrator, Nick Jenkins, presumably in middle age or beyond, looking through the wares on offer at a downmarket auction and recognising four paintings by E Bosworth Deacon. This prompts Jenkins to recollect his earliest encounter with Mr Deacon, who had been a friend of his parents, and whom they had chanced upon during a visit to the Louuvre shotly after the end of the First World War. (Jenkins’s father had been a delegate at one of the plethora of conferences that were held in Paris after the war, and whose work ultimately fed in to the Treaty of Versailles. Jenkins is then moved to recall one of Deacon's paintings, "The Boyhood of Cyrus", which had hung in the hall of a house where he had attended dances during his early years living in London. This brings us back to "real time" in the novel sequence, with Jenkins now in his early twenties (probably around 1926/27) and living in a shabby set of rooms in Shepherd Market, then a slightly run-down area of London close to the smart neighbourhood of Mayfair. He mentions, more or less in passing, that he is working for a firm that publishes art books ... and that is about all we find out about his day to day life. He is, however, in love (or at least he thinks he may be ...) with Barbara Goring, a slightly noisy, hyperactive girl who plays a prominent part in the world of society dances and balls. Jenkins inhabits the fringes of this world has a chance encounter with Kenneth Widmerpool, whom he had last seen four or five years ago in France where they had both passed a summer at La Grenadiere where they were trying, with limited success, to learn French. Widmerpool is now moving forward in life, having established himself as a solicitor but with designs to enter the world of business. After a traumatic evening at a society ball, Widmerpool and Jenkins find themselves walking through the back streets of Piccadilly when they literally bump into Mr Deacon who, with his gamine companion Gypsy Jones, has been selling pacifist newspapers at Victoria Station. What seems a mere chance encounter detonates a serious of reverberations that will resound through the remaining volumes of this immense, elaborate and enchanting saga. We are also treated to the welcome reappearance of some characters from the previous volume (including Uncle Giles, who has always been one of my favourites!) Powell's style is always understated, and it is, perhaps, only on a re-reading that the true intricacy of the sequence becomes evident. The books are never full of incident but they are richly stowed with acute observation and a laconic, sardonic encapsulation of the hopes and fears of the decades between the wars. The humour is exquisite, but always underpinned by a strong current of melancholia.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Cayley

    The second in Anthony Powell’s sequence of novels, A Dance to the Music of Time, introduces new characters and shows ones from the first novel in a new light and in new combinations, like changing partners in a dance. This is the 1920s, and much of the book is taken up with one evening consisting of an upper-class dinner party, chance encounters, and a party hosted by a woman who has been mistress of a royal personage. The narratpr, Nicholas Jenkins, remains his stiff-lipped rather pompous self, The second in Anthony Powell’s sequence of novels, A Dance to the Music of Time, introduces new characters and shows ones from the first novel in a new light and in new combinations, like changing partners in a dance. This is the 1920s, and much of the book is taken up with one evening consisting of an upper-class dinner party, chance encounters, and a party hosted by a woman who has been mistress of a royal personage. The narratpr, Nicholas Jenkins, remains his stiff-lipped rather pompous self, casting an often detached eye on the goings on around him, while himself making mis-steps in the dances of love. But this is not just a portrayal of carefree lives. There are hints of poverty, lots of references to money and ambition (both worldly and artistic), and in the background are references to civil war in China, the peace movement and left wing politics, and the rise of multinational business. One character who runs through the whole sequence, the often semi-comic Widmerpool, is seen in a different perspective as, on the one hand, he successfully advances his career, and, on the other, he becomes the gull of a proudly amoral female. This is all very enjoyable. One theme running through the book is the way, with hindsight, events and interactions take on a significance not apparent at the time - rather like a musical motif whose possibilities emerge during the course of a composition. I have given the novel four rather than five stars because this is hammered home a little too repetitively and heavy-handedly. But this is a minor defect.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Fascinating, extraordinary, sublime, lyrical ... and, well, more of the same.... I recently discovered and (somewhat skeptically) embarked upon Powell's epic series, A Dance to the Music of Time, and - frankly, not really knowing what I was getting into - was quite taken with the first installment. For better or worse, the second installment - this "book" - was entirely consistent ... a seamless progression through the narrator/protagonist's life (and maturation? discovery? finding his way? disce Fascinating, extraordinary, sublime, lyrical ... and, well, more of the same.... I recently discovered and (somewhat skeptically) embarked upon Powell's epic series, A Dance to the Music of Time, and - frankly, not really knowing what I was getting into - was quite taken with the first installment. For better or worse, the second installment - this "book" - was entirely consistent ... a seamless progression through the narrator/protagonist's life (and maturation? discovery? finding his way? discerning his position in the dance?) after school. Alas, for me, the novelty - if not the magic - wore off during the relatively short break between completing the first book and starting the second. (Full disclaimer: although I frequently consume and enjoy serializations, I rarely work through them back-to-back. OK, I spread O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, which I thoroughly enjoyed, over 12 years.... I'm also more than willing to abandon a series, regardless of my investment, if I feel it's lost its way.) The result is that, having completed the first two books in the series, my current assessment is that I expect that I'll continue to read and enjoy the series, but I'll probably let a little more time pass between installments.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Volume 2 of 12 Dance to the Music of Time taking our characters out into the “real world”. The end sentence sums it up “life seems to have begun in earnest at last, and we ourselves, scarcely aware that any change has taken place, are careering uncountrollably down the slippery avenues of eternity”. Volume 3 awaits for me in March “The Acceptance World” and the completion of the 1st Movement of my 12 month project.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben Moore

    Like the first book, strangely compelling. Full of rich and interesting characters. In particular we learn more about Widmerpool who is proving to be one of my favourites of the cast. Feels a lot like people watching.

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