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Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time

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Jonathan Cowley

16 Hours 47 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

November 2018

Audio Book Summary

The author of the award-winning Matisse: A Life gives us the definitive biography of writer Anthony Powell--and takes us deep into the heart of twentieth-century London's literary life.

Insightful, lively, and enthralling, this biography is as much a brilliant tapestry of a seminal era in London’s literary life as it is a revelation of an iconic literary figure. Best known for his twelve-volume comic masterpiece, A Dance to the Music of Time, the prolific writer and critic Anthony Powell (1905–2000) kept company between the two world wars with rowdy, hard-up writers and painters—and painters’ models—in the London where Augustus John and Wyndham Lewis loomed large. He counted Evelyn Waugh and Henry Green among his lifelong friends, and his circle included the Sitwells, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Philip Larkin, and Kingsley Amis. Drawing on letters, diaries, and interviews, Hilary Spurling—herself a longtime friend of Powell’s as well as an award-winning biographer—has produced a fresh and powerful portrait of the man and his times.

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Reviews

  • Judith B.

    As a fan of Powell, I found the book interesting both in itself as an adjunct to understanding more fully the influences of those in his life who bob up, often in surprising form, in the 12-volume Dance series. The narrator almost ruined it, however. He reads In a weird, jerky, arrhythmic style that was annoying and distracting—and st times created confusion, as he created “ stops” and then read on to finish the sentence. I cannot imagine why anyone permitted the eccentric reading style. It was nothing short of bizarre.

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