Book #51: A Dance To The Music Of Time
“To dance is to live.” – Famous dancer person
Dancing represents life, vitality, happiness, even sexuality.
A good dancer is never more alive than when she dances—heart thumping quickly, blood churning through her veins, sweat pouring profusely from her pores.
All of these are good things. They’re happy and festive and joyful. They’re interesting and intriguing. I like them. You like them. We all like them together.
They’re everything A Dance To The Music Of Time is not.
If dancing is happiness, then A Dance To The Music of Time is the equivalent of watching 8,000 baby dolphins get eaten by a gang of rabid grizzly bears.
I don’t know exactly where this novel lost me. It’s 3,500 pages, after all. Somewhere after page 1,000 (page freaking 1,000!), this became more a matter of willpower and less a matter of trying to figure this thing out.
If you’ve read all 13 of my posts about this book, you know I’ve admitted to the book having a few moments here and there. But those moments are few and far between. I really, really, REALLY tried to like this novel. After all, I spent all of 2012 reading it.
In a project like this, I have no desire to waste my time. But 95% of A Dance To The Music Of Time was a plodding journey through the life of Nick Jenkins, our friendly, “everyman” narrator.
Dialogue is scarce. And most everything that actually “happens” in the story occurs outside of said story. It’s told second-hand or through reflections by Jenkins.
There is no real plot in the traditional sense. You’re basically following this character, Jenkins, and a few of his friends throughout their lives—literally from their schoolboy days all the way up to old age (at least those who live to old age).
Powell is a good writer, but his storytelling style is not my cup of tea. For example, in the final book, “Hearing Secret Harmonies,” Powell spends 40 pages or so in a conversation between a few characters who discuss whether a particular biography is worthy of a literary award.
In the end, I’ve written so much about this book over the last year (one post a month during 2012) that I just don’t have anything else to say. So this “review” will not follow the template of my usual reviews. I’m just content to get this novel out of the way and move on.
In sum, everyone has their own opinions about these things—and some of you might very well disagree—but I do not recommend this book. If you’re intrigued in a train wreck sort of way, then read the first one and see how it goes. My guess is that you won’t make it to the second book.
And in related news, move over Mrs. Dalloway, you have company at the bottom of my meaningless and highly subjective rankings. I can’t stress enough how much I hated this book. I’d rather eat chicken liver the rest of my life than read another page of this thing.
The Year of The Dance has taken its final breath.
If you’re in a sadomasochistic mood, here’s all of my posts about The Dance: