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O, How the Wheel Becomes It!

A Novel

The first novel Anthony Powell published following the completion of his epic A Dance to the Music of Time, O, How the Wheel Becomes It! fulfills perhaps every author’s fantasy as it skewers a conceited, lazy, and dishonest critic. A writer who avoids serving in World War II and veers in and out of marriage, G. F. H. Shadbold ultimately falls victim to the title’s spinning—and righteous—emblem of chance. Sophisticated and a bit cruel, Wheel’s tale of posthumous vengeance is, nonetheless, irresistible.

Written at the peak of the late British master’s extraordinary literary career, this novel offers profound insight into the mind of a great artist whose unequaled style, ear for dialogue, and eye for irony will delight devotees and new readers alike.

144 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 1983



“A superlative new short novel, a satirical zinger. . . . O, How the Wheel Becomes It! is a distillation of all that is inimitable about its author—deflation of high seriousness and the pursuit of esteem at the expense of others, achieved with rigorous understatement; a wryness that is never mocking or arch; and a sense of pathos just offstage.”

New York Times Book Review

“Powell has always dealt beautifully with the vagaries of the sexual imagination. . . . A treat for the many Powell addicts.”

Allan Massie | Scotsman (UK)

“Powell’s observations of human behavior are as sharp, his ear for conversation as devastatingly accurate, his wit as trenchant, as they ever were.”

Susan Hill | Daily Telegraph (UK)

“The unmatched serenity of Powell’s humor is the product of a classical perspective: confident that the more obvious verities of life do not change much, he refuses to wring his hands at the decadence of the age, contenting himself with the sheer spectacle of human excess.”

David Heim | New Republic

“There is no other . . . British novelist whose sense of social nuance is so delicate or so subtle, or whose comic range is so wide. . . . And there is certainly no other novelist whose work gives so much or such consistent pleasure.”

Times Literary Supplement (UK)

“One of his cleverest, funniest, and most delightful books.”

A. N. Wilson

“Powell excels at the long arc. . . . For those not yet ready to tackle Dance, Wheel is a work of the mature Powell, very sensitive to those unforeseen changes in fortune or circumstance that occur throughout life and which give the book its title.”

Gerald J. Russello | The Millions

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