O, How the Wheel Becomes It!
The great British writer's penultimate fiction returns us to the satiric wit of his early novels, Afternoon Men, What's Become of Waring and From a View to a Death. Having completed his great twelve volume Adan to the Music of Time, Powell tells the story in O, How the Wheel Becomes It! of a British literary celebrity who is not an important writer, is no great personality, and certainly is no cause for celebration of the human species. G.F.H. Shadbold, a lifelong poseur and literary manqué, lives, for the most part, in fear of discovery.
A friend, Cedric Winterwade, whom Shadbold evidently seduced in his college days, writes a novel almost as insignificant an badly written as Shadbold´s own literary output. As time passes, however, and the ¨friend¨is killed in the army, Winterwade´s novel begins to be rediscovered while Shadbold´s work remains ignored. The discovery that Winterwade has penned a journal sets the stage for a hilarious series of events, ending in Shadbold´s justifiable downfall from grace as he discovers that his friend has revealed not only Sandbold´s sexual indiscretions. but has described his own affair with a woman with whom Shadbold had been in love. Powell pokes fun at the writing community, academic life, and a whole generation of memoir-toting literati.