After 1,400 Pages, I Finally Laughed
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve reached a turning point in what, to this point, has been the most tedious literary experience of my life.
The Valley of the Bones, Book 7 of The Dance To The Music Of Time (read my prior posts about each book in the series), was actually not a bad book. In fact, it was somewhat good. I even laughed! Can you believe it?
Throughout my self-declared “Year of the Dance,” I’ve hammered this novel. But, finally, some light.
To this point, this novel has been like eating tofu for six straight nights and being treated to roasted chicken on the 7th night. Even if the chicken is dry and underseasoned, it’s much better than tofu. What a horrible analogy.
Anyway, The Valley of the Bones takes place during the beginning of World War 2. All of our central characters—Jenkins, Widmerpool, and the rest—have been recruited and have taken roles in the British army.
The massive estates that once hosted parties in which boring people stood around and talked about boring subjects have now been turned into temporary army bases and hospitals.
I’ve heard a lot about the humor in The Dance. But, up until this point, I haven’t experienced much of it. Or maybe I just haven’t got it. Book 7, though, was a winner in the humor department.
Powell’s writing reminded me of Richard Heller’s style in Catch 22. It’s dry humor, satire. He reveals some of the practical aspects of life in the army during wartime in a funny way. That takes talent.
So onward I forge. I believe it was Teresa—a commenter on the blog—who told me the series gets better during the war trilogy (books 7-9). That was definitely the case with book 7. As I’m approaching the two-thirds mark in the series, I can see a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
Will this positive trend continue? Or will I begin to poke out my eyes in boredom yet again?
Tune in next month when I review book 8, The Soldier’s Art, to find out.