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Afternoon Men is the first published novel by the English writer Anthony Powell. In its characters and themes it anticipates some of the ground Powell would cover in A Dance to the Music of Time, a twelve-volume cycle that spans much of the 20th century and is widely considered Powell's masterpiece. Published in 1931, it focuses on the romantic adventures and discontents of one William Atwater, together with a circle of his friends and acquaintances, in London around the end of the 1920s. Atwater, a museum clerk, pursues a never-fulfilled relationship with Susan Nunnery throughout the novel, while other characters - painter Raymond Pringle, Harriet Twining, Lola, Verelst, the American publisher Scheigan, and Susan's father George amongst them - carry on similar dissatisfying quests for emotional fulfilment. The novel is predominantly comic, with persistent melancholy and occasional vitriol also present. Like much of Powell's fiction, the novel portrays British society and its subtly stratified interconnections by focusing in detail on individual behavior both in social situations-at parties, country weekends, at work-and in solitude.
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ANTHONY POWELL was born in 1905. After working in publishing and as a scriptwriter, he began to write for the Daily Telegraph in the mid-1930s. He served in the army during World War II and subsequently became the fiction reviewer on the TLS. Next came five years as literary editor of Punch. He was appointed a Companion of Honour in 1988. In addition to the twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time, Anthony Powell was the author of seven other novels, and four volumes of memoirs, To Keep the Ball Rolling. He died in March 2000.Review:
“Ooh, ooh, ooh, I'm excited because I recently read a reissue of Anthony Powell's Afternoon Men, and just know that this is the right book for . . . one of my most frequent correspondents.” (John Warner, aka the Biblioracle Chicago Tribune, Printers Row)
“The funniest novel you’ve never read. . . . Afternoon Men is a revelation to sophisticated readers of every stripe, but especially to a certain kind of artist manqué on the brink of discovering that life is a more difficult business than he ever had reason to expect. . . . The subject matter is ‘relatable,’ as my students like to say. Better still, though, is what you can learn about the craft of writing from this marvelous book. . . . Indeed, if you’re looking for a funny, nonportentous Hemingway, then the early Powell is your man.” (Blake Bailey Slate)
“[A] still-too-little-acknowledged comic masterpiece.” (James Wolcott Vanity Fair)
“In its dead-pan comedy and its ultimate despair, Afternoon Men belongs with Cyril Connolly’s The Rock Pool and Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust. These books describe a part of England that no longer exists.” (John Bowen New York Times)
“Good entertainment. . . . Powell has a rich fund of irony and humour to support his extravagance and a humorous veracity of observation.” (Times Literary Supplement)
“Looking back at Powell’s earlier novels, it is possible to see him discovering there how to use his razor-sharp satirical sense until it is purged of bitterness and extravagance.” (Elizabeth Janeway New York Times)
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Book Description Hardback. Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Seller Inventory # GOR002929449
Book Description Random House, London, Un, 1974. Cloth. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. The 1978 edition, great condition, extremely slight shelf wear. Seller Inventory # 1091489
Book Description William Heinemann, 1988. Hardcover. Condition: Used: Good. New Ed. Seller Inventory # SONG0434599018