I had three goes at Anthony Powell's twelve-volume series, A Dance to The Music of Time, and failed each one. Mainly due to his appalling writing style (eg, His manner of asking personal questions was of that kind not uncommonly to be found which is completely divorced from any interest in the answer.), an upper middle-class avalanche, and a huge cast of characters.
The key turned with vol. 10 (Books Do Furnish a Room), once I discovered how that memorable title came into being. Since then I've read the series two or three times.
Why did I persist? Well, Evelyn Waugh liked the books and reviewed the later volumes as they appeared. For another they are genuinely funny but indirectly, as with Proust's great series which Powell admired. Funny in an English (note: not British) way, often very cruel: for instance, an academic has a stroke at a formal dinner and comedy emerges from the way others react. Vols. 6 - 8 (The Kindly Ones, The Valley of Bones, A Soldier's Art) contain a sharp and frequently mordant account of our country at war. And, overtopping everything else, the series gives birth to one of the greatest fictional creations ever: Widmerpool.
It's a decade since I last read the books and my judgment may be deliquescing. But - how peculiar! - they make me quietly proud to be English. Foreigners (and many Anglos) who have tried and failed may be astonished and outraged by that. In my defence I can only say I am not and never have been a natural patriot; National Service taught me not to be.
Would I recommend the series? Only I fear after receiving satisfactory responses to a set of questions/tests. In short: no. But if your curiosity is aroused, well, let's take partners.