The first of Anthony Powell's epic 12 volume saga, this is a nice introduction, but little more. This first book focusses on our narrator, one Nick Jenkins, and his youthful adventures in a series of vignettes serving to introduce us to a host of characters, and their place in post WWI British society.
The writing is, befitting a classic, very good -a dry, sometimes bordering on sardonic style, with some simply gorgeous turns of phrase and even entire paragraphs.
As a standalone novel, it's not very strong. However, knowing there are 11 more novels to come, covering Nick's entire life, there is a very strong sense of all the pieces being set up on a board. I thought perhaps a chessboard, but it's more complex than even that really, more like watching a master set up one of those huge and intricate domino falls. It's mesmerising to watch, but it's only a precursor to the real action - and just because you can see the patterns already, doesn't mean that something surprising and wonderful won't happen when the dominoes begin to fall.
So 3 stars, because as much as I liked it, I didn't love it... but I have a feeling I will come to love this series as a whole. I also suspect, there is much richness and foreshadowing that would be found upon a re-read, once I've finished all 12 books. I have a feeling that after this book club read, one novel a month for all of 2016, I may very well be turning around and re-reading them all from the start again.