Saturday, March 2, 2013
I Love a Parade!
I haven't seen the HBO miniseries, but last week, finding myself in the neighborhood of the Strand, I looked in, and on a lark bought the omnibus edition of the Ford Madox Ford novels (discussed here). Now, having suffered the torments of the damned (OK, of the darned) in trying unsuccessfully to slog through the vast, arid wasteland that makes up the same author's The Fifth Queen, it's surprising that I wanted to try these--but, on an impulse, I bought it.
This has turned out to be a great move on my part. Parade's End is, so far (end of the first of four linked novels), a remarkable work of fiction, with complex, believable characters, social satire and writing that ranges from the serviceable to the incandescent. At his best, Ford sees deeply into his characters, and uses language to convey their perspective in a way that is evocative and necessary to the task at hand--in other words, I at no point feel he is showing off his gifts; the prose serves the story and the characters, and is often arresting anyway.