A Man Could Stand Up, the third volume of Parade's End, brings Ford's characters to the 'crack across the table of History', across which lie their uncertain post-war futures. Divided into three parts, the novel is a kaleidoscopic vision of a society at climactic moment. The Armistice Day fireworks heard by Valentine Wannop in London with which the novel opens are echoed in the nightmare bombardment of the second part, as we are taken back to the war and Christopher Tietjens, staggering through the mud of 'No Man's Land with a wounded soldier in his arms.
The final section returns to Armistice Day and joins the two characters in a frenetic dance, while Tietjens' wartime comrades smash glasses drunkenly around them.
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Difficult but Profoundly Moving