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Description de l’éditeur
As featured on BBC Radio 4 Open Book
A modern classic, The Light Years is a story of twentieth-century English life in the countryside and the first in Elizabeth Jane Howard's extraordinary, bestselling family saga The Cazalet Chronicles.
'She helps us to do the necessary thing – open our eyes and our hearts' – Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
Every summer, the Cazalet brothers – Hugh, Edward and Rupert – return to the family home in the heart of the Sussex countryside with their wives and children. There, they are joined by their parents and unmarried sister Rachel to enjoy two blissful months of picnics, games, and excursions to the coast. But despite the idyllic setting, nothing can be done to soothe the siblings’ heartache: Hugh is haunted by the ravages of the Great War, Edward is torn between his wife and his latest infidelity, and Rupert is in turmoil over his inability to please his demanding wife. Meanwhile, Rachel risks losing her only chance at happiness because of her unflinching loyalty to the family.
'Charming, poignant and quite irresistible . . . to be cherished and shared' – The Times
Continue the dazzling historical series with Marking Time and Confusion.
In her charming but unwieldy eighth novel, the author of Odd Girl Out and Getting It Right portrays three generations of an upper-class English family summering at their Sussex estate in 1937 and 1938. The daily concerns of the Cazalet patriarch, his four children, nine grandchildren, countless in-laws, servants and pets range from the mundane to the seriously significant: the children rescue their cat from a tree, the chauffeur drives too slowly, the adults discuss the prospect of war. The temptations of adultery and incest that lurk beneath the chitchat rarely threaten the comfortable routine. Howard's attempts at insightful characterization, suspenseful plot development and sweeping depiction of an era achieve only partial success, due to the sheer size of the cast and the continual introduction of subplots thereafter neglected. For hundreds of breezy but disappointingly ``light'' pages, Howard sets the stage for climactic events that never occur. The fan of sagas full of slice-of-life detail may find the book too short, while the lover of catharsis will feel it stops short of its goal. In either case, another installment is required.