Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Parade's End

The first episode of Tom Stoppard's TV serialisation of Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End tetrology has received mixed reviews (This one is favourable and accurate, IMO).

Many of the complaints are based on ignorance of the structure of the 'modern' novel. Critics claim to have been unable to follow the plot as it 'jumps about too much'. Ford Madox Ford explains it simply - “No person telling a story in real life, ... begins at the beginning… for it will come back to you in patches, an incident here, another of ten years earlier… The ‘technique’ of the modern novelist is merely an attempt to tell his story as stories are really told.”

 Other complaints concentrate on the sound quality (or lack of it). Yes, the sound quality was terrible in parts, thanks again to the sound-track drowning the dialogue. Where there is no 'musical backing track', the dialogue is clear.


I enjoyed the first episode very much, thanks, in no small part to the excellent casting. I know of no actor better fitted to gaining the viewer's sympathy for the character of Christopher Tietjens than Benedict Cumberbatch.

 I've already downloaded all four of the Parade's end novels, along with what is considered to be Madox Ford's finest, The Good Soldier.  I won't be reading the former until the TV series ends but may read The Good Soldier before then.