Temporary Kings by Anthony Powell

Volume 11, we’re reaching the end I guess, and the characters have aged a little, I think they are in their mid-fifties and it must be the 1960s or thereabouts. Everything is beginning to seem a bit more modern to me anyhow. The same characters get pulled out for another spin around the carousel. To me the most unlikely thing about this book is the way the same people bump into the same other people again for decade after decade, but it’s the point of the series really. I mean it’s in the title of the series I guess, but it only dawned on me what it meant after numerous books. 

This volume is a bit lacking in the middle. The beginning in Venice is interesting and gets off to a faster start than most of the other books, and the ends are always good. But the middles just don’t do it for me and I end up putting the books down for weeks and forgetting what is happening. This one more so than some of the others, and yet I didn’t think it was a bad book overall. 

Usually I read on with a series because I’m enjoying finding out about the characters lives, that’s often the case even in, for example, a series of mysteries where there is theoretically a different plot to each book, but I know I come back for the soap opera bits that go along with the mystery as much as anything. I don’t find I really care what happens to most of the characters here. Some of the ones I liked best are already dead and gone, and I’m mostly reading on now just to get to the end. Which isn’t a great endorsement really! 


Read on December 21, 2022

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