By Neil McEwan (auth.)
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Extra info for Anthony Powell
The absurdity of its being the spirit of George Eliot which issues this prophetic squib is a good enough joke to dispel most of the psychic fog, but Powell leaves the amusing, odd coincidences, as he does those oflater novels, to tease uso The crowded, apparently fateful plot of the last prewar novel may help to explain, however, why Powell chose to start a long sequence when he returned to fiction after the war. He was presumably less than fully serious when he told an interviewer in 1961 that he had 'no talent for inventing plots of a dramatic kind in a comparatively short space - 80,000 words', but What's Become 01 Waring may have persuaded hirn that the space of a single novel was too artistically confined for his characters' dance to time's music.
He is especially good at charting the stages of Blore-Smith's drunkenness on his night out in Paris, from tipsiness to collapse, without denying the pleasures of drink but showing how thin and befuddled they can be. Blore-Smith in 'sheer lightness of heart', after dinner, fits in an extra calvados while Chipehase is out of the room. He boasts of his analyst and his partner in films. He wonders at the erotic murals at the nightclub Chez Zouzou. He speaks his few words of French to the girl Yoyo.
Lipfield wanted power. Roberta wanted power. T. T. Waring wanted power. Did Eustace want power? I t was an interesting question. Magic and coincidence, idiosyncracy and social role, egotism and the will-to-power, and sexuality - orthodox or not - are some of Powell's themes in the 1930s which were to dominate his later novels. The power and oddness of Time are not yet fully apparent. Powell would not wish us to regard themes in his work too earnestly, however. Waring's narrator has, after three years' work, not yet completed his second chapter, 'Laughter is Power'.