A Dance to the Music of Time: Fourth Movement : Dance to the Music of Time

  • by Anthony Powell
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: Dance to the Music of Time
  • 23 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art.
In the second volume they move to London in a whirl of marriage and adulteries, fashions and frivolities, personal triumphs and failures. These books "provide an unsurpassed picture, at once gay and melancholy, of social and artistic life in Britain between the wars" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.).
The third volume follows Nick into army life and evokes London during the blitz. In the climactic final volume, England has won the war and must now count the losses. In this climactic volume of A Dance to the Music of Time, Nick Jenkins describes a world of ambition, intrigue, and dissolution. England has won the war, but now the losses, physical and moral, must be counted. Pamela Widmerpool sets a snare for the young writer Trapnel, while her husband suffers private agony and public humiliation. Set against a background of politics, business, high society, and the counterculture in England and Europe, this magnificent work of art sounds an unforgettable requiem for an age.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Anthony Powell's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview - where James Atlas interviews Charles McGrath about the life and work of Anthony Powell - begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

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What the Critics Say

"Vance's narration captivates listeners throughout this outstanding examination of a life in progress." (AudioFile)
"Anthony Powell is the best living English novelist by far. His admirers are addicts, let us face it, held in thrall by a magician." (Chicago Tribune)
"One of the most important works of fiction since the Second World War. . . . The novel looked, as it began, something like a comedy of manners; then, for a while, like a tragedy of manners; now like a vastly entertaining, deeply melancholy, yet somehow courageous statement about human experience." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A privilege to have read it

Would you consider the audio edition of A Dance to the Music of Time: Fourth Movement to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version.


Who was your favorite character and why?

I felt huge sympathy for a character called Charles Stringham, who turned up fairly frequently in the books but who was by no means a major character. Nevertheless I kept wishing that reports of his death had turned out somehow to have been a mistake because I felt so sorry for the waste of his life. Powell would not get involvement like that from his readers without some very skilful and crafty writing. I still don't know why Stringham was so important to me.


What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

His range of voices was astonishingly good. I recognised the voices of people who had appeared in previous books even before they had been named.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

That would not have been possible in this case.


Any additional comments?

If I were Powell, perhaps I would be able to write well enough to describe how fantastically good this cycle of books is—but I am not. What I can say is that it is an astonishing work of literature. The writing is simple and clear, it is by turns humorous and tragic, just like life. I enjoyed every sentence; when I had to stop I was irritated by the interruptions; I was sorry when it ended and I feel that reading it was my time best spent.Simon Vance, who narrated the entire twelve books, gave voice to a whole world of men and women, all with their own vocal affectations, habits and accents, all distinct and recognisable. He is obviously a truly talented artist but that sort of reading needed far more than just talent, it required the sort of application that most people would have trouble holding for a few hours, let alone the weeks or even months that recording this massive work would have involved.The irony is that both writer and actor put so much work into the Music of Time books and they are so skilled at their jobs that the whole thing appears completely effortless.

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- Demirep

Great series

On finishing Part 1, I was only just convinced to invest in the the whole series. The whole is unlike anything else that I have read and I learnt to love it. Sadly it is an incomplete life story of a very likeable character who plays a relatively minor part in the action. Nicholas is an observer rather than a prime player.
The narrator's voice suits perfectly the main role and does a great job on the over 300 other characters.
The books are consistently very funny and not infrequently sad. I can imagine listen to them again.
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- Petra

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-07-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios