‘Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant’ By Anthony Powell (New Year’s Resolution, Book Thirty-Five)

Clearly, I am not going to make it to fifty-two books this year. Work and life have been stressful and difficult lately and that has held me back from concentrating on reading. I need a reading vacation. Not a vacation from reading, but a solid week without television or much internet to just calm my mind and bury it in books.

So, contrary to what I said in my last post about these books, Jenkins does not return to Jean. It was just a flashback to his relationship/affair with Jean Duport née Templer. A poorly identified flashback.

He is well and truly married to Isobel Tolland and there is still a lack of affection and relationship described. Who is she? Why did he marry her? Does he love her? Hell, if I know.

The atmosphere of a gritty, economically declining England is well depicted. People’s fortunes decline and struggle.

And Jenkins’ relations to some musical types is narrated. The school day friends/acquaintances, Widmerpool, Stringham and Peter Templer (Jean’s brother), do not appear so much. Widmerpool does after Isobel has a miscarriage, but it’s mostly about other folks. A recurring figure, the writer St John Clarke, dies and that made me a little sad. He was depicted as a not so very good writer and a bit of a weak minded, sad sack and I felt a little defensive and wanted to come to his aid against the author’s insinuations, though if he’d been real, I’m certain I would have despise his books.

I wish that Nicholas Jenkins were less of a tool to describe a changing society and given more of an interior life we could e exposed to, but as a narrator, he is not so forthcoming. Only in earlier books, when talking about Jean.

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