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Strangely Like Real Life

Strangely Like Real Life

My own prime favourite is Anthony Powell’s sequence of novels A Dance to the Music of Time: panoramic, sharply observed, farcical, ironic, yet shot through with what Kingsley Amis called an endlessly inquisitive melancholy. We shadow the narrator Nick Jenkins from the callow half-understanding of youth, in the Twenties, through the drastic remaking of lives and relationships by war, to late middle age in the heady Sixties and Seventies – a whole new age of absurdity against which the novel’s various endgames are played out.
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Underwear Was Important

Underwear Was Important

Posy’s dialogue is as good as her draughtsmanship, and she has a talent for names (an area in which so many writers fall down) which is as good as that of Evelyn Waugh or Anthony Powell. What enchants and convinces in all her work is the brilliantly observed detail. If Posy draws a French coffee pot it is a completely authentic French coffee pot. The appearance of her characters – toddlers, sulky teenagers, pushy mothers, angst-ridden authors, pretentious publishing types – is always spot on. This kind of texture, she says, is the equivalent of verbal description in a novel . . .
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An Unsettling Read

As the long flight plugged on through the night, Forster’s powerful descriptions of the scenery and climate of India beckoned me. I longed to feel the way the Asian heat ‘leapt forward’ hour by hour, to see the ‘angry orange’ sun that ‘had power without beauty,’ and to smell the toddy palms and neem trees and sweet ‘green-blossomed champak’. I wanted to feel beneath my feet what Forster describes as ‘something hostile in the soil’ and see the sky at night when ‘the stars hang like lamps from the immense vault’.
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