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"A Buyer's Market" by Anthony Powell

A Buyer's Market - Anthony Powell

"A Buyer's Market" is the second book in Anthony Powell's twelve novel sequence "A Dance To The Music of Time" and it picks up the narrative in 1928, via a flashback to Paris where narrator Nick Jenkins introduces us to an artist called Mr Deacon. 

Nick is now in his early twenties and whilst more grown up, still uncertain of his place in the world. I assume this explains the book's title. Nick and his contemporaries are searching for money, jobs, sex, social status etc. and their search takes them to a succession of social events that Nick recounts in the same first hand manner of "A Question of Upbringing". Also, in common with "A Question of Upbringing", it's full of day-to-day detail and Nick's perception of those he encounters. 

How reliable is Nick as a narrator? He frequently revises his opinions about those he meets not least Widmerpool whose personal journey continues apace. The narrative technique adds to the sense of surprise and gives the book a few memorable twists. For me Widmerpool is very much the star of the shown and I love the way he kept turning up in ever more incongruous and unexpected places - constantly surprising and confounding Nick Jenkins.

There are also, and again in common with the first book, some moments of sublime humour, and much of the exquisite writing has a pleasing and playful tone. 

I enjoyed this book every bit as much as "A Question of Upbringing", and now look forward to reading the third instalment, "The Acceptance World".

Reading the first two instalments of "A Dance To The Music of Time" has been an absolute joy and akin to the pleasure of slipping into a hot bath. I recommend both books and eagerly anticipate completing the journey from 1914 to 1971 - and discovering what happens to Nick and his group. 

4/5