Friday, June 10, 2022


Forced into COVID lockdown in the Spring of 2020, I decided to re-read two of my favorite novels, Marcel Proust's 'In Search of Lost Time ' and Anthony Powell's 'A Dance to the Music of Time'. They are two of the longest novels ever written and share many similarities. Both are first person narratives covering about 50 years of the narrator's life, and include many real world events between the years of 1871 and 1971. Both novels contain a wide selection of unforgettable characters, examine profound philosophical themes and both are extraordinarily funny. Having read both novels several times over the past fifty years, I've been unable to decide which one I enjoyed most.

 But, despite the similarities, their popular reception has proved remarkably different. The seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time have been translated into more than a dozen languages, including several different English versions, but the twelve volumes of A Dance to the Music of Time have been translated into only three other languages. There have been more than three thousand books written about Proust but less than a dozen written about Powell.

 My new book, A Dance to Lost Time, seeks to examine the differences between the two books and, if not explain, at least explore the disparity in their reception. If my book can persuade a reader to subsequently read one, if not both, of these splendid novels - then all those months of lockdown will not have been in vain.

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