Anthony Powell by Hilary Spurling
This is a sympathetic biography of one of the great British novelists of the 20th century – the author of A Dance to the Music of Time. Hilary Spurling, who was close to Anthony Powell in his final years, earned praise for her command of English intellectual history and her vivid portraits of his friends, including George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh. Yet some reviewers felt that Spurling’s closeness to Powell led her to downplay his irascibility and snobbishness.
Number of votes: 10*
Who chose it? Antonia Fraser, Claire Tomalin, Michael Howard, Claire Lowdon, Gaby Wood and five others.
Praise: “Intimate and judicious, it doubles as an alternative history of a lost kind of Englishness.” (Tim Adams, The Observer)
“Excellent… makes clear that the reader is in the hands of an interpreter well-disposed towards her subject.” (Gaby Wood, The Daily Telegraph)
“Often surprising and always brilliant... I couldn’t put it down.” (Claire Tomalin, New Statesman)