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A Buyer's Market: A Novel (A Dance to…
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A Buyer's Market: A Novel (A Dance to the Music of Time, Book 2) (original 1952; edição 2005)

por Anthony Powell (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaDiscussões / Menções
5141635,100 (3.61)1 / 92
A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations. A BUYER'S MARKET follows Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and social hurdles which stand between them and the 'Acceptance World'.… (mais)
Membro:merriicat
Título:A Buyer's Market: A Novel (A Dance to the Music of Time, Book 2)
Autores:Anthony Powell (Autor)
Informação:Arrow (2005), 240 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca, Read
Avaliação:***1/2
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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A Buyer's Market por Anthony Powell (1952)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 16 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
2020, Read more than once ( )
  Milesc | Dec 2, 2020 |
"This is perhaps an image of how we live."

There are occasions when I look back at previous reviews and feel somewhat naive. When I read A Question of Upbringing in those heady days of November 2016, I didn't warm to much in Powell's literary toolkit. Now that I've read A Buyer's Market, although I fully stand by that review and my analysis of the author's shortcomings, I appreciate him all the more. This review is a high 3 stars, but I can't yet offer him that much-ballyhooed fourth.

Aside from some flashbacks to Paris after "the war", we are mostly situated at the end of the '20s, as Nick and Widmerpool attend a variety of social functions, from grand dances to awkward dinners and finally a funeral, along the way running into everyone they met in the first book, and being forced to constantly reassess their approach and point-of-view.

Although Powell and Proust share a connection, it's becoming clear that Powell is as far from modernism as one can be while still writing literature in the mid-20th century. Powell's interest is in our personal development, and how we interact with society, but I think less with how society forms us, and especially less with the idea of human memory and fallibility. When Powell deals with character growth, he does not primarily mean internal growth - aside, perhaps, from Nick Jenkins himself - but instead with how we change as viewed by others.

The received wisdom about these books is that Jenkins is something of an audience surrogate, but I see him as a fully-fledged character. What works best about these novels is the wry understanding Jenkins develops about himself, and the way he viewed the world. I think what people mean is that Jenkins' life remains opaque. He is constantly reflecting on how separated he has become from those school and university chums we met in book one. But we really have little idea of which people he is spending his time with.

What else works? Powell's ability to conjure up ambience in just a few sentences, his gradual comic Jenga puzzles, as in the first event the lads attend which culminate in little moments of comedy like the forgotten pile of Deacon's anti-war magazine. And his light skewering of the upper classes, always with affection but never with a blind eye.

What doesn't work? Well, Powell's prose meanders between the sublime and the utterly mundane. Maybe up to 10 times in this novel, Jenkins sees someone in the distance, or hears a voice, and tells us how it was vaguely familiar. Sometimes Powell will devote a whole paragraph of inane reflection, only to gradually reveal a character we've met before. If thinking cynically, I wonder if this was Powell attempting to formulate the actions of the mind and memory on the page but if so, he is far from successful.

In his satire of the lower classes, from the insufferable Quiggins to the constantly aggressive Gypsy Jones, Powell reveals his own biases in a way that - unfortunately - is setting him against the zeitgeist, and I suspect it's the reason these famous books have stunningly few reviews on Goodreads, especially as the series moves toward its end.

There's also the problematic nature of older writing, which I'm not going to keep bringing up in these reviews, but here black people, Jewish people, and not infrequently women get a bum rap, and - unlike in the writing of Powell's great, humanist contemporary Barbara Pym - one cannot write these bigotries off as the voice of characters. Still, Powell existed in his world, and his writings are not intending to stir up hate or disenfranchisement, so I'm not going to hold him in contempt just because his views do not match mine.

Powell and Art

Art continues to play a crucial role in Book Two, and I think any reader is well-advised to engage with the works mentioned. The Pre-Raphaelites;the porcelain Staffordshire dogs that tell us so much about character; Jenkins' view of Le Bas as a figure from the Bayeux Tapestry; Mr. Deacon's strong dislike of the Impressionists; Degas; Mestrovic; and the Haig Memorial. Art inhabits and surrounds these characters, and interpretations of art are one of the key methods by which Powell distributes characterisation to the ever-expanding supporting cast. It's one of his greatest attributes.

So, it's fair to say I won't be waiting another two-and-a-half years to dip into the Dance again. At the same time, what surprised me most when I skimmed through Book One before starting this one was that I remembered it so well. Not just the plot but so many specific incidents and conversations. If Powell can linger with me so strongly after one book, I imagine I can string out the Dance over a number of years and be richly rewarded. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Maybe someday I'll come back to this. I just can't, 150 pages of being at a party. I know they say that things really start to pick up in books three and four, around there, but yeesh. First book was much more enjoyable. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jul 7, 2020 |
Perhaps the most surprising characteristic of A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell’s sweeping twelve volume autobiographical novel, is how little one learns about the narrator. The books take the form of reminiscences by Nick Jenkins, and extend to well over a million words, but the focus is steadfastly upon the people whom he encountered rather than on himself.

The second volume of the roman fleuve opens with Jenkins, presumably in middle age or beyond, looking through the wares on offer at a downmarket auction and recognising a lot of four paintings by E Bosworth Deacon. This prompts him 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 Louvre shortly 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). During that period, Mr Deacon was living in Paris, and seemed to be in a state of denial about the recent conflict.

Jenkins is then moved to recall one of Deacon's paintings in particular, "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 run-down area of London close to the smart neighbourhood of Mayfair. He mentions, almost 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 rather noisy, hyperactive girl who plays a prominent part in the world of society dances and debutantes’ balls. Jenkins hovers on the fringes of this world, and at one ball has a chance encounter with Widmerpool, whom he had last seen four or five years ago in France where they had both passed a summer staying with the LeRoy family while trying, with limited success, to learn French. It is only at this meeting that Jenkins learns that Widmerpool’s forename is Kenneth. Widmerpool is now moving forward in life, having established himself as a solicitor but with designs to enter the world of business.

The ball takes an unexpected and (for Widmerpool, at least) traumatic turn, and at the end of the evening Widmerpool and Jenkins find themselves walking through the back streets of Piccadilly when they literally bump into Mr Deacon. With his gamine and forthright companion, Gypsy Jones, Mr Deacon has been selling pacifist newspapers at Victoria Station. While still conversing with Mr Deacon and Gypsy Jones, Jenkins and Widmerpool are hailed by their former school companion Charles Stringham, who encourages them to join him at a party being given by his current partner Mrs Andriadis. 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. Indeed, this novel takes the form of three or four set pieces, including the ball describe above, a social visit to the home of a leading industrialist, a bohemian birthday party and the aftermath of a funeral. They are, however, 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. ( )
1 vote Eyejaybee | Jul 17, 2019 |
The second book of Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time has the young Jenkins entering life as a young adult, starting in business, entering society and surveying the available girls. This is a time where there is a shortage of men following WW2. Jenkins feels he is starting to live life. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 30, 2015 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Powell, Anthonyautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Broom Lynne, JamesDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lancaster, OsbertArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Leistra, AukeTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lindholm, JuhaniTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The last time I saw any examples of Mr. Deacon's work was at a sale, held obscurely in the neighborhood of Euston Road, many years after his death.
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A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations. A BUYER'S MARKET follows Nicholas Jenkins, Kenneth Widmerpool and others, as they negotiate the intellectual, cultural and social hurdles which stand between them and the 'Acceptance World'.

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