Rereading Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford – The Beginning

Long time readers are probably aware that the Parade’s End tetralogy is my favourite book series, ever. I love it more than A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF) by George R.R. Martin *le gasp*.

However, unlike ASoIaF, I’ve not reread it since devouring it in September 2013.

Now, when I read Parade’s End it was slightly problematic, as it gave me quite a lot of anxiety (I’m looking at you Sylvia Tietjens) nevertheless, I bloody loved the experience.

Sure, rereading could ruin my love but what is life if you don’t take a risk? You’re right, dull, so here we go. (Be prepared for gifs, I’ve decided to give them another go.)

The Beginning.

I forgot this is a postmodern novel, I’m not exactly sure where Christopher is/I am, I’m 90% sure it’s a train. Either way, Christopher Tietjens is lamenting that his wife wants to come back after running away with another man, because she is bored.


He’s yet to meet Valentine Wannop, so thus far my anxiety is low. I don’t know why I love this man so much, he’s such a stick in the mud. His friend Macmaster is also a ladder climbing sponge, but I think Christopher knows and just puts up with it.

However, the best character in this novel is Sylvia Tietjens, who really is so wonderfully horrible. No wonder she is bored, what can she really do? She’s restricted to looking pretty and having babies.

She has a wonderful conversation with her mother in France, to where she ran with her boy toy, and her mother’s priest. The high point is where he threatens to throw holy water on her and watch her burn . It’s a wonderful set up for the best anti-hero you will ever meet.


Parade’s End definitely wasn’t intended to be feminist (that I know of) so I can only assume that Ford had some issues he’s wasn’t dealing with.

Back in England, Ford skips all over the place (which you’ll learn to love), Christopher is having to wait around for Sylvia’s response to his telegram. Giving Macmaster time to come in and recount the awful day he has had.

Which is where I need to stop, because next we’ll meet Valentine, and then Christopher will, and then I’ll have something extra to GIVE ME ALL THE FEELS.

Until next time.

9 thoughts on “Rereading Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford – The Beginning

  1. I’m going to have wait a while before reading this novel as the story and characters are still fresh in my mind from the recent TV adaptation! It’s good to know there’s so much to look forward to though. Did you watch the series? If so, I’d love to hear how the performances compared to your impressions of the characters from reading the book.


    1. Oh, I am going to be SO EXCITED when you read this Jacqui, you always write such good reviews.

      I did watch the series, yes. It’s actually the reason I read the book. I started watching episode one, decided I wanted to read the books, read all of them and then came back to the series. It gave me almost as much anxiety as the book.

      The books are definitely better, and as brilliant as Cumberbatch’s performance was, he was far too pretty to be Christopher. Valentine and Christopher are very much a love of each others minds. Overall though, Stoppard did a wonderful adaptation and Rebecca Hall is amazing as Sylvia, really brought her to life.


  2. I remember when you read it, bit shocked it’s been 3 years! Glad you’re enjoying it this time, and it looks like you’ve got the whole ‘seeing even more in it the second time’ thing going on a bit, too. I’m intrigued as to this anxiety, what was it caused by or would that be a spoiler?


  3. It can be a risk to reread something that you love, especially if things have changed in your life and you have a slightly different perspective on things.

    Nice job with the gifs. 😀


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