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The Light Years (Cazalet Chronicles #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,918 Ratings  ·  478 Reviews
The Light Years begins in the summer of 1937 with the coming war only a distant cloud on the horizon. The various members of the Cazalet clan are preparing for their annual holiday at the family estate in Sussex. Over the course of two summers, Elizabeth Jane Howard draws readers into an intimateand fascinating world.
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by Pocket Books (first published 1990)
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Peter Grimsdale
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was completely unexpected. I happened to hear some of the serialisation on Radio 4 and thought - hang on, this is really special and ordered the book. It's astonishingly good. I'm very interested in Britain before and during World War II so that was a major box ticked. EJH's recall of what is a fictioalised account of growing up through that time is exceptional. And what is also deeply refreshing is that she comes from a background that isn't at all literary and therefore it isn't laden wit ...more
Jo Reads
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Se vi aspettate colpi di scena, pagine e pagine con il fiato sospeso, rivelazioni sconcertanti ecc questo NON è il libro che fa per voi. La storia della famiglia Cazalet è semplicemente la loro storia, che noi conosciamo, grazie all'impeccabile stile di Elizabeth Jane Howard, leggendo dei fatti importanti che caratterizzano la loro vita, sia di quelli più frivoli. La forza di questo libro sta sicuramente nei suoi personaggi. Soprattutto quelli femminili, tutti diversi e tutti realisticamente imp ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very nice way to start the New Year. This family is lovely. Rich and kind, thoughtful and warm. They are a family that enjoy each other's company and respect everyone within it. Even the children are given voice and listened to.
This book is the pre-WWII setting, building the familial relationships, getting ready for what we know will come. The setting is peaceful, yet watchful as War looms but hasn't yet arrived.
The story focusses a lot on the children. They are the true starting point of th
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first of a three volume series about the large, upper middle class Cazalet family and their throng of servants, friends, retainers, mistresses and others. You literally need a scorecard to keep track of everyone. The setting is London and rural Sussex in 1937 and 1938. World War II is looming large on the horizon. Normally, I love sagas of this ilk, such as Brideshead Revisited. But Howard, alas, is no Evelyn Waugh or E.M. Forster. She does do a good job of re-creating the vanished w ...more
This book is the first of a series about the Cazalet family. Here we look at three generations - the grandparents, their three married sons and one unmarried daughter. The three sons have small children, young teenagers and more kids are on the way. The book focuses upon the life of the young cousins over the summers of 1937 and 1938 in Sussex, England. Games and intrigues and worries about the approaching war. The thoughts of the children are tangible and real. Jealousies and rivalries and pets ...more
Libros Prestados
Una de las ventajas de la novela sobre otras artes como el cine o el teatro, es que puede describir las emociones de los personajes, todo lo que no dicen, todo lo que callan. No mediante imágenes que hay que descifrar, ni por medio de monólogos que rompen la cuarta pared, sino mediante la propia narración.

Y es precisamente esa la base de "Los años ligeros": todos los sentimientos, ideas y sueños de los miembros de una familia que jamás se dicen, que jamás se expresan a los demás. Y la autora lo
Primo volume di una saga familiare ben costruita, che qualche volta perde un po’ la verve, ma che in generale è arguta e piacevole da leggere, soprattutto perché traccia un quadro molto vivido del periodo che ha preceduto la Seconda Guerra Mondiale e della quotidianità di una famiglia inglese appartenente alla borghesia medio-alta.

Penso proprio che mi sciropperò tutti e cinque i libri.
BAM The Bibliomaniac
The first book in a series about the Cazalet family set in 1937 England, it's a delightful look at the interaction between extended kin. The women are irritatingly unselfish; the men, caught up in their own lives leaving the minutiae of household to the females. The children are quite proper and really seem to get along well.
I have to admit I've read out of order. I found book three at a used sale not knowing it was part of a series and just fell in love with the characters. I had to start with
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Volume one of a great family saga.
Elena (Books & Reviews)
I started reading The Light Years right after I sat my M.A’s first exam and I chose the book because I thought I needed something more domestic and tranquil than the usual crime novel. My paperback edition made the book seem quite long and I thought it would take me ages to finish it, but Howards’ description of 1937′s everyday life and issues is as addictive as a mystery to be solved. The Light Years is the perfect mix between Mrs. Dalloway and Downton Abbey.

Although the book’s description cent
Postcards from far away
Storie di una quasi ordinaria famiglia.

Sinceramente, avevo alte aspettative per questo libro e non sono stata delusa.
Inizio subito col dire che questa saga familiare non è tutto questo scoppio di momenti emozionanti o avvenimenti rocamboleschi che scatenano eventi a catena per tutte le 600 pagine.
Si tratta semplicemente della vita di una grande famiglia che si ritrova due volte l'anno nella casa delle vacanze situata nel Sussex, proprietà dei capostipiti Cazalet: William, detto il Generale e la
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: Peter Thorneycroft
Shelves: own, fiction

I picked this up at a sidewalk sale (used) and reflected quickly that I would probably hate it. Actually, it was a pretty good read.

It's 1937, and three generations are gathering to spend the summer at the Sussex estate of "the Brig" and "the Duchy" Cazalet. There are the three 30-something sons: Hugh, badly injured in WWI, Edward, a handsome philanderer, and Rupert, an aspiring artist married to the much younger, empty-headed Zoe. Their sister is Rachel, an asexual lesbian spinster. Their wives
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in a saga that explores the impact of the changes that overtook Britain in the late twentieth century, The Light Years focuses on an extended upper-middle class family just before the outbreak of World War Two. Elizabeth Jane Howard has an unusual narrative technique in that the point of view is distributed more or less evenly over more than a dozen characters so that the story is brought to us in a series of snippets.

I found this unsatisfying in that no character had ownership o
The Light Years (Cazalet Chronicles #1) by Elizabeth Jane Howard

fradio> R4
Series> #1 of 4
Winter 2013
under 500 ratings
pub 1990
Hist Fic>WWII

1/10 The Cazalet family gather for their annual summer holiday as war looms.
2/10 Edward escapes the family holiday to meet his mistress.
3/10 Sibyl goes into labour early, and Rachel is drafted in to help.
4/10 Louise's image of her father Edward is about to be shattered for good.
5/10 As Sid worries about the situ
Non sono una grande estimatrice delle lunghe saghe, né quando si tratta di serie tv, né tantomeno in letteratura: non lo sono perché l'esperienza mi ha insegnato che - doverose eccezioni a parte - nel prolungare a oltranza una narrazione, sia pur avvincente e ben strutturata, si andrà inevitabilmente incontro ad alcune fisiologiche problematiche: la carenza di idee, la tendenza a riproporre dinamiche già ampiamente sfruttate, e soprattutto l'esigenza di mantenere vivo l'interesse del lettore/spe ...more
The Books Blender
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Queta recensione è presente anche sul blog->

Seguito da:
- Il tempo dell'attesa;
- Confusione;
- Allontanarsi;
- All change.

Inghilterra. 1937-1938. Gli Cazalet sono una famiglia dell'alta borghesia inglese; sono numerosi, più o meno uniti e hanno una fiorente attività di famiglia.

Questa estate, come ogni estate, si riuniranno a Home Place, la dimora di campagna di famiglia nella quale vivono abitualmente il Generale e la Duchessa e la di loro figlia, Rache
Kate Bevan
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series, of which this is the first of five books: it's the pinnacle of Elizabeth Jane Howard's underrated but considerable achievement.
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Jane Howard, autrice inglese ampiamente apprezzata nel suo paese e portata alla luce in Italia con Il lungo sguardo, con questo primo volume delle Cazalet Chronicles mi ha conquistata.
Se nella precedente lettura lo stile mi aveva incuriosita, ero rimasta però dubbiosa circa l'opera nella sua interezza: trovai il libro a tratti complesso e difficile da seguire se non con molta concentrazione, intenso ma troppo pomposo.
Stessa cosa però non si può dire per Gli anni della leggerezza, prim
La Libridinosa
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stelle e mezzo #vogliamolamezzastella
Stumbled across this book at a used bookstore in NY. The second I saw the descriptors "upstairs, downstairs," I was hooked. Ever since Gosford Park, I've been fascinated by early 20th century landed gentry British customs. The calm, cultured, faintly ridiculous atmosphere of the "upstairs" where you dress for dinner, and the frenzied pace of the "downstairs," where cooks plan elaborate meals well in advance; maids scurry around the rooms before dawn to light fires, prepare tea, set out clothing; ...more
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Semplicemente innamorata. Ho sempre paura di leggere una saga familiare in quanto ho sempre il timore che i componenti della famiglia, dunque i vari punti di vista con il quale seguiamo la storia, non mi piacciano oppure non riesca ad entrarci in sintonia oppure ancora a provare empatia. Ho adorato infinitamente sia i personaggi, in particolare i più piccini della famiglia che suppongo seguiremo nel percorso di crescita attraverso gli altri volumi sia la scrittura spigliata e riflessiva dell'aut ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e, historical-fiction
Definitely a women's book! A 1930s social history with delightful details of how the wealthy fictitious Cazalet family lived in the years just before WWII.

Splendid writing too, with many expressions and sayings my grandmother (who also lived in Sussex) was so fond of... Elizabeth Jane Howard gets the reader right into the head of each character (and there are rather a lot!) and the result is superb, despite the fact that there isn't really much actually going on.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gripping, enthralling saga, swan song of the end of an era - an era in which good china and maids and drivers and butlers and country mansions gave the upper class - and the middle and lower class, reflecting their life - the illusion of an harmonic, ordered life, a time and space where beauty had the upper hand on war and death. Cannot wait to start the second volume.
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
7 MAY 2016 - I received a courtesy copy of The Light Years from the publisher. I deeply appreciate this ecopy. I will begin reading The Light Years tomorrow.

13 MAY 2016 - review coming soon.

16 MAY 2016 - 4 out of 5 stars. The Light Years is the first in a five-part sage written about the Cazalet family.

I have always enjoyed becoming involved in a series into which I am able to immerse myself. I love learning about the daily minutiae of a family and The Cazalet Chronicles prove to be such a se
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
what a strange book this was. Lent to me by a friend, it wasn't something I'd ever have stumbled across by myself. Bursting at the seams with characters in an almost Dickensian way, there's no one in this big fat novel that doesn't get at least three or four lines told from their own point-of-view. So much of 'The Light Years' is a low-grade period piece - well told and all, but with really nothing special going on. But then every now and then there are flashes of incredible intensity, where you ...more
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favorite series of books (The Cazalet Chronicles) begins with The Light's 1937 and the story opens with many branches of the wealthy Cazalet family is headed to the grandparents' home in Sussex, in the country, for the summer. WWII is on the horizon but not yet a real worry. The Cazalet children consist of three brothers: Edward, who is a completely faithless husband to his wife Villy; Hugh, who was wounded in WW I and is devoted to his wife, Sybil; Rupert, who was widowe ...more
Daisy Goodwin
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my view, this is the best of the Cazalet novels, and the bar is set pretty high. There is a grittiness to this book which undercuts the occasional cosiness. Clary one of the young girl characters decides that when she grows up she will write about all the things that other writers leave out, periods, having babies, going to the lavatory, and sex. Ejh writes about all these things but she also is a great and subtle creator of character. The depiction of Zoe the much younger second wife of one ...more
Chiara Selene
Premettendo che i miei giudizi sono leggermente severi, questo libro mi ha lasciata abbastanza indifferente, certo il modo in cui è scritto è veramente particolare, con mille punti di vista..anche dei bambini (mmmh non dico di averlo molto apprezzato) e con la descrizione costante della quotidianità, ma a mio personale parere non ho trovato le vicende così interessanti...così come i personaggi. Credo che per apprezzare l'opera vadano letti gli altri volumi, per avere un quadro più ampio...non so ...more
Arpita (BagfullofBooks)
4.5 stars
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dal mio blog

Da quando ho aperto il blog presto più attenzione alle biografie degli autori e devo dire che quella di E.J.Howard mi ha colpita. Ha avuto un’infanzia infelice a causa della depresione della madre e delle molestie subite dal padre. Era una bella donna ma inquieta, con una vita privata burrascosa, costellata di amanti e mariti. Nonostante le sue opere fossero amate dal pubblico, solo di recente E.J.Howard ha ricevuto anche il plauso della critica (e per fortuna). Tra i
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Cazalet Family Tree 3 26 May 12, 2017 10:54PM  
British Literature: The Light Years 1 22 Jan 23, 2012 10:28AM  
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Elizabeth Jane Howard, CBE, was an English novelist. She was an actress and a model before becoming a novelist. In 1951, she won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for her first novel, The Beautiful Visit. Six further novels followed, before she embarked on her best known work, a four novel family saga (i.e., The Cazalet Chronicles) set in wartime Britain. The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, and ...more
More about Elizabeth Jane Howard...

Other Books in the Series

Cazalet Chronicles (5 books)
  • Marking Time (Cazalet Chronicles, #2)
  • Confusion (Cazalet Chronicles #3)
  • Casting Off (Cazalet Chronicles #4)
  • All Change (Cazalet Chronicles #5)