Books 2010

Books 2009

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009


I'd definetely read them in the order of the narrative - but at the beginning, they're so tangled up, it makes little difference at times! But start with Time of Hope, for sure! Enjoy - and let me know how you get on!

Do you recommend reading the series in the order of publication, or in the chronological order of the narrative?

I was looking for a complete list of the series and Wikipedia suggests this order:

Time of Hope (1949)
George Passant (first called Strangers and Brothers) (1940)
The Conscience of the Rich (1958)
The Light and the Dark (1947)
The Masters (1951)
The New Men (1954)
Homecomings (1956)
The Affair (1960)
Corridors of Power (1964)
The Sleep of Reason (1968)
Last Things (1970)

The Snow series has been hovering on the edge of my radar for years. I too appreciate your comparison with Dance -- I've wondered how they stack up.

Now I really want to find the series and start at the beginning. I'd better start looking. They don't exactly jump off the shelves at me over here.

Just stopping by briefly to say hello, I have not been very focused lately. But I want to make the most of the longest days of the year.
I was trying to spot the differences between Snow and Powell in between the lines of your posts, and I have now my answer.
I quite like the e e cummings poem but I need to reread it more carefully. And I still have to read accurately the Tennyson on the Arthurian tale. Have a nice day... and week end, if I don't show up tonight.

Oh dear, I have clearly failed. I'd say they are not depressing, but actually life affirming, but this entails a look at the tragedies and disappointments as well as the triumphs. After, the overarching narrative is "poor midlands boy makes (very) good and is happy, too"! They are well worth reading, so do try one, perhaps The New Men?

I am interested to read your summing up, and in particular your description of the series as "warm, disconcertingly honest, and very knowledgeable and wise". The impression I've received from the individual posts - and one not necessarily at odds with your evaluation - is that the books sound terribly depressing (maybe your "disconcertingly honest" is key here). Am I right, and would a reader preferring to avoid literature about 'disappointed lives' be advised to leave the series on the shelf, or is it in fact quite life-affirming stuff?

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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