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The Light Years

Cazalet Chronicle, Volume 1
Lu par : Jill Balcon
Durée : 16 h et 50 min

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Description

The tangled lives of three generations evoke a vanished world in this, the first volume of the Cazalet Chronicle.

Home Place, Sussex, 1937. The English family at home.... For two unforgettable summers, they gathered together, safe from the advancing storm clouds of war. In the heart of the Sussex countryside, these were still sunlit days of childish games, lavish family meals, and picnics on the beach.

Three generations of the Cazalet family played out their lives - with their relatives, their children and their servants - and the fascinating triangle of their affairs....

©1990 Elizabeth Jane Howard (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ilana
  • 25/01/2014

The Age of Innocence

This is the first book of the Cazalet Chronicles, a family saga about the Cazalet family clan living very comfortably thanks to a family business—this prompting me to think of them henceforward as another set of Forsytes (see The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy), another family clan living comfortably from the fruit of their trade. It starts in the late 1930s while Europe is on the brink of WWII. Most of the actions takes place during two consecutive summer family vacations, when the whole clan are gathered at their Sussex family home. There are three generations of Cazalets, with spouses and their families plus the servants and various employees to keep track of, and while I usually have quite a bit of trouble remembering who is who when there are more than a handful of characters, this was more or less easily done here, as each of the characters is very well drawn and has a unique individual story.

The children are busy at their games and worries; about going back to school and attendant bullying for the boys, while the girls are dreaming up their future career options given the minimal education they are offered; acting, being a nun, nursing are a few possibilities. Their elderly impoverished teacher with a face like a toad and a heart of gold was a personal favourite. Their fathers, three Cazalet siblings, are all veterans from WWI. The eldest is badly affected by his war wounds and suffers from debilitating headaches (how I empathized with him!), the second is an inveterate womanizer who descends into downright disgusting lechery, while the third and youngest (and comparatively poor) brother has married a very young girl who seems to offer nothing but her beauty, after tragically losing his first wife, and badly failing to establish his painting career. Their unmarried sister meanwhile is charged with caring for her elderly father who is slowly losing his eyesight but not ready to relinquish his post of command, while she is also involved in a chaste love affair more or less sanctioned by the family.

These are innocent times, when the menace of oncoming war seems more like a fictional possibility than a real threat, though by the second summer, in 1938, when the German annexation of Czechoslovakia seems inevitable and before the signing of the Munich agreement, preparations for an assault are underway at the Cazalet compound just in case Chamberlain’s meeting with Hitler doesn’t go so well and London must be evacuated. All in all, a very satisfying piece of historical fiction seen through a modern writer’s eye, so that things which would have been left unsaid by a contemporary writer are here fully revealed. This very much brought to mind another favourite female British author’s work, The Camomile Lawn by Mary Wesley, which was also written in the late 20th century; it too is about a large family clan, with the story beginning during innocent pre-war summer holidays, here taking place in Cornwall. The fifth book in the Cazalet Chronicles was published recently and I will almost certainly make my way to it with time. Thanks to Suzanne and Heather on LibraryThing for strongly recommending this series of novels. I should also mention that the narration by Jill Balcon was delightful.

9 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jdukuray
  • 06/05/2017

Enveloping story of England between the Wars

Any additional comments?

I read many of Elizabeth Jane Howard's novels probably 30 years ago. I remember liking them all, but had moved on to other things before I got to the Cazalet Chronicles. I am so glad to have rediscovered the author and these wonderful novels. I am an Anglo-phile and so these go down easily, but I thought the first volume was flawlessly written, paced, and read by Jill Balcon. I did find a list of characters at the start that I could refer to and that helped keep the children sorted. Highly recommended if this is your cup of tea.

3 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret Darley
  • 01/01/2014

Disappointing

Would you consider the audio edition of The Light Years to be better than the print version?

No! I much prefer the print version

How could the performance have been better?

There is too much dynamic range - the reader is sometimes whisper quiet, so you turn up the volume and the next paragraph is too loud; this is very disruptive and annoying. The reader does not differentiate between the characters, so it's not easy to tell who is speaking.

Any additional comments?

I love the story but had to go to the print version to enjoy it, I have listened to many audio books but have not been so disappointed before.

7 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • tatiana
  • 30/07/2019

It's nothing like downton abbey

It kept jumping from one person to another and half the time u have a hard time keeping up.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • murray
  • 21/09/2020

couldn't take anymore of it

so mildly interesting I kept at it until I finally realized there would be another 11 hrs of it and wasn't going anywhere. that's when I decided to abandon it. listened to another novel of hers before and liked but this was a dud

  • Global
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Diane Baude de Bunnetat
  • 30/07/2020

NOTHING HAPPENS!!!

I usually like the WW2 novels but this had absolutely nothing to do with a WW2 saga. There are too many characters so you can’t keep track of who is related to who. And none of them are developed enough to start caring about them. I was very bored by this book

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • anon
  • 21/05/2020

People Watching

I was in the mood for something engaging but not very exciting, and I enjoyed this book. Other reviewers have described the story line well. There isn't much of a plot or action. This is a book for readers who enjoy people watching, are interested in the minutiae of life in a different era, and who wouldn't pass up a chance to see what other people keep in their drawers (as in bureau). There are a lot of characters and I needed to make a family tree to sort them out. The narrator was good and I had no trouble understanding her accent. However, as one reviewer said, the volume is not consistent. Balcon's exclamations are loud, but then her voice trails off to the the point where it is barely audible. This was quite annoying.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kate Rendham
  • 24/10/2016

Memories of a time long past

A delightful family story in the years before the Second World War in Sussex, England. It is beautifully narrated bringing all the warmth of the family, friends and staff into an interesting, uncertain time when life hung suspended while the politicians tried in vain to prevent another war.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rsus
  • 12/06/2016

love the story - not happy with narrator

Would you listen to The Light Years again? Why?

Not sure -- was going to get the other titles in the trilogy but the narrator was so hard to understand that I hesitate to get the additional books.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Light Years?

I just like the historical time period and the all of the family interactions.

What aspect of Jill Balcon’s performance would you have changed?

Accent wa way too strong so hard to understand. Also, seemed to slur words so that they ran together and were really difficult to understand.

Any additional comments?

Please do a narration with an english accent that is not so strong!

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Interprétation
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Histoire
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy
  • 17/11/2015

I typically don't write reviews but....

Any additional comments?

This book was well written & had clever wording for the reader to really feel like they are in the time period of the story, but that's the problem....no real story (or plot). I'm almost done with the book and it feels like it's one long set up for the 'real' story to start in book 2. I doubt I will chance it.