Last weekend Julian Barnes wrote at some length on Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, for the Guardian. The book has been adapted for the BBC by Tom Stoppard and is currently screening in Britain.
Greene wrote that "The Good Soldier and the Tietjens series seem to me almost the only adult novels dealing with the sexual life that have been written in English. They are our answer to Flaubert." In subject-matter, certainly; but also there is also a consanguinity in technique. One of Flaubert's great developments (not inventions – no one really invents anything in the novel) was style indirect libre, that way of dipping into a character's consciousness – for a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase, sometimes for just a single word – showing things from his or her point of view, and then dipping out again. This is a direct ancestor of the stream-of-consciousness narrative so richly deployed by Ford. Much of Parade's End takes place within the heads of its characters: in memory and anticipation, reflection, misunderstanding and self-justification. Few novelists have better understood and conveyed the overworkings of the hysterical brain, the underworkings of the damaged brain (after his first spell at the front, Tietjens returns with partial memory loss), the slippings and slidings of the mind at the end of its tether, with all its breakings-in and breakings-off.Barnes also notes that the fourth volume was sometimes suppressed by certain editors, including Greene, who considered it to be "more than a mistake – it was a disaster, a disaster which has delayed a full critical appreciation of Parade's End".