It is a sequence of comic novels (which must be read in order) by Anthony Powell. Powell's work is social comedy in the tradition of Jane Austen and George Meredith. Contemporary writers with whom he is often compared include Marcel Proust and Evelyn Waugh. The 12 short novels of A Dance to the Music of Time give a panoramic picture of English upper-class social life from 1921 to 1971 that is both intensely realistic and amazingly funny.
Readers either love Powell's work or can't understand what others see in it. My own opinion is that Dance is the best novel, or one of the best, written in the twentieth century. Others share this view: A Dance to the Music of Time is #43 on the recently constructed Random House/Modern Library 100 Best Poll (of twentieth century fiction) and was made into a 4-part miniseries on British television several years ago.
More information about DANCE (as it is called for short) can be found on the admirable web site
1. A Question of Upbringing (QU)
2. A Buyer's Market (BM)
3. The Acceptance World (AW)
4. At Lady Molly's (LM)
5. Casanova's Chinese Restaurant (CCR)
6. The Kindly Ones (KO)
7. The Valley of Bones (VB)
8. The Soldier's Art (SA)
9. The Military Philosophers (MP)
10. Books Do Furnish A Room (BDFR)
11. Temporary Kings (TK)
12. Hearing Secret Harmonies (HSH)