Elizabeth Jane Howard Cazalet Chronicles 5 Books Set, (The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change)
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There were a few discrepancies I had not originally noticed. The change in how Edward and Guy view the Southampton property is never explained; in the final scenes Louise is grouped with the children though she is older than both Polly and Clary and she has been married and is a mother herself; these are just a few that I can point out without giving too much away. Nonetheless, it remains a wonderful narrative of the life of an upper middleclass English family in the mid-twentieth century. I do feel that the sections on the war years are much more successful than the post-war years, but both are wonderful. The first book, The Light Years, introduces the Cazalets, a middle-class English family who are rich enough to own houses in both London and Sussex; to send their sons to expensive ‘public’ schools and hire a governess for their daughters; and to have a large number of maids, kitchen staff, gardeners, chauffeurs and secretaries. The story is told from the point of view of all three generations of Cazalets, as well as various servants, friends and mistresses, which does make things confusing at first. Who is the eldest out of the Cazalet brothers? Is Christopher the cousin of Teddy or Simon? On my first (and even my second) reading, I often found myself having to refer to the family tree and the list of characters at the front of the book. However, once all that was sorted out, I was drawn to the teenage Cazalet girls: melodramatic Louise, who longs to be an actress; kind-hearted Polly, who dreads the idea of another war; and plain, clumsy Clary, who hates her stepmother, brother, cousins and practically everyone else in the world, but has a vivid imagination and a wonderfully honest outlook on life (as you can tell, she’s my favourite). The girls’ worries, resentments, dreams, tragedies and triumphs are beautifully portrayed. Their parents are equally realistic, but less easy to like. They vote Tory, believe the British Empire will last forever, think of women as weak, intellectually-inferior beings, have a vague dislike of Jews . . . all typical attitudes of their class and time, but it doesn’t make them very endearing to most modern readers. However, this attention to historical accuracy is one of the strengths of the series. The author describes everything, from what people ate for breakfast, to how they reacted to the Munich Crisis of 1938, so clearly yet so unobtrusively. (This may be because a lot of the story is autobiographical.) Elizabeth Jane Howard - obituary". The Telegraph. 2 January 2014. ISSN 0307-1235 . Retrieved 17 February 2018.
Cazalet Chronicles Series by Elizabeth Jane Howard - Goodreads
The books are a social history of those crucial times and are clearly based on Howard’s own family and experiences. Most of the characters are very real and complex which is a credit to her writing. Like other readers I do find it hard at the finish as I have been reading the series for the best part of two months now. Orbiting the Cazalets, like satellites, are characters which in the hands of a lesser novelist might have seemed secondary or, in comparison, rather flat; but such is the generosity of Howard’s imagination that what seems at first the introduction of some minor role becomes, two novels later, a character no less intrinsic than the Duchy. There is Sid, Rachel’s beloved friend, who has some of the novels’ most poignant scenes; Miss Milliment, the Cazalet governess, a masterly study in female loneliness, loss and thwarted ambition; and Archie, whose faults and frailties caused me first to despair, and then to forgive.
Anthony Thwaite (9 November 2002). "When will Miss Howard take off all her clothes?". The Guardian . Retrieved 1 November 2010. She is also excellent at describing children's thoughts, feelings, opinions and conversations. She is one of those rare adults who did not forget what it felt like to be a child or teenager. She was probably close to her stepson Martin Amis. She also describes maternal love convincingly. In fact, on reading her biography online I realise how biographical these books are and the characters and incidents are derived from her own life. The Light Years: Hugh, the eldest of the Cazalet siblings, was wounded in France and is haunted by recurring nightmares and the prospect of another war. Edward adores his wife, a former dancer, yet he’s incapable of remaining faithful. Rupert desires only to fulfill his potential as a painter, but finds that love and art cannot coexist. And devoted daughter Rachel discovers the joys—and limitations—of intimacy with another woman.
The Cazalet Chronicles: Five Novels in One Collection - Goodreads
It will break your heart several times over, but it’s also full of joy. The Cazalet children in particular are a real treat: I’m rarely, if ever, a fan of child protagonists, but Elizabeth Jane Howard is expert at creating believable – and likeable – children with inner lives as complex as any of the adults.
In the early 1980s, with several novels, including After Julius and Something in Disguise to her name, Elizabeth Jane Howard was casting around for a new fictional project. Apart from artistic considerations, she was in the process of separating from Kingsley Amis, to whom she had been married since 1965, and needed both absorption and funds. In Slipstream, her 2002 memoir, Howard describes how she had "two ideas that I found paralysing": an updating of Sense and Sensibility and a trilogy about a family that would begin in 1937 and span a decade. She invited her stepson Martin to come for a drink and talk it over; when she told him about the family saga, his response was immediate: "Do that one."
Elizabeth Jane Howard: Hilary Mantel on the novelist she
Stephen King once said that writing can be learned, but can never be taught. Well, here come the Cazalet Chronicles, to - almost - make a fool out of King. 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 Casting Off were serialised by Cinema Verity for BBC television as The Cazalets (The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion and Casting Off). She has also written a book of short stories, Mr Wrong, and edited two anthologies.She wrote a book of short stories, Mr. Wrong (1975), and edited two anthologies, including The Lover's Companion (1978).  Autobiography and biographies [ edit ] The final book, Casting Off, is set in the immediate post-war years, and wraps up the story for each of the characters, not always realistically. I devoured this book, just as I did the others, but it does consist mostly of ‘then X married Y’ – unless X had been unhappily married, in which case it’s ‘then X divorced Y’. Polly’s story is particularly silly, but even Clary’s happy ending doesn’t seem all that believable to me. Still, the male characters who’d been getting away with horrible behaviour for years (specifically, Edward and his nasty son Teddy) do get their comeuppance in this book, which made me very happy – however unrealistic it might have been.