Light Years (Vintage International) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $2.31 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Light Years has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Very readable copy. Expect regular shelf-wear to the edges, spine, covers, or pages. Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Light Years Paperback – January 31, 1995


See all 19 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.69
$7.07 $0.97
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$13.69 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

Light Years + A Sport and a Pastime: A Novel + All That Is: A Novel (Vintage International)
Price for all three: $38.45

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (January 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780679740735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679740735
  • ASIN: 0679740732
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Extraordinary . . . at once tender, exultant, unabashedly sexual, sensual, and profoundly sad. Light Years is a masterpiece.”
—Elizabeth Benedict, Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Remarkable. . . . Salter celebrates the silver-and-golden bitterness of life. Light Years . . . becomes an unexpectedly moving ode to beautiful lives frayed by time.”
—James Wolcott, Esquire
 
“[A] twentieth-century masterpiece. At once iridescent, lyrical, mystical and magnetic.”
Bloomsbury Review
 
“An absolutely beautiful, monstrous, important book.”
—Joy Williams

From the Inside Flap

This exquisite, resonant novel is a brilliant portrait of marriage by a contemporary American master. Even as he lingers over the lustrous surface of Viri and Nedra's marriage, James Salter makes us see the cracks that are spreading through it, flaws that will in time mar it beyond repair. "An unexpectedly moving ode to beautiful lives frayed by time."

Customer Reviews

What an amazing, fantastic, beautifully written novel.
Stephen Quinn
I have just started to read this book, but I was convinced of its excellence after I read the first page.
Anonymous
I would have liked a little more character development.
LWM

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 102 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on February 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
The courage to live life as it changes, as the faults that went unseen in the initial rush of novelty emerge, to adapt, continue and be happy, content, this I believe is the heart of this work. The small imperfections that erode to fatal flaws as the years pass, the union of marriage that grows old, and regret and a desire for something new becomes an obsession. And if the freedom is regained can it ever be as it was anticipated. How can anything desired for years, embellished and romanticized for decades ever deliver contentment?
The marriage of Nedra and Viri act more like a parenthetical that contains the entire novel and its events, than they serve as the focal point. The dozens of friends on almost as many levels of intimacy all revolve around the married couple, the former couple, or the individuals they believe they become for a second time. Is contentment the equivalent of stagnation; is it predestined for most, or voluntary for the few?
Mr. Salter continues in, "Light Years", what he has done in all 3 of the novels I have read thus far. The people he creates transcend whatever story he presents them in. The personalities he creates are wonderful not because they entertain with their uniqueness or their contrived eccentricities, but because of how normal they are, or perhaps familiar. This is not to suggest they are cliché, they are everything but that, they are people you know, people you may meet, or a character that you find a part of you is within.
One of the beauties of what this man is capable of with his writing is reaching very deeply into the thoughts and fears that inhabit almost all of us. He does not presume, he does not judge or lecture, he just lets you look through your minds eye, and decide for yourself.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Eric Treanor on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
I can still remember a time when drinking was an unmitigated delight. Rightly or wrongly, I felt freed by it of my worst qualities: humorlessness, abject obedience to authority, a fascination with judgment, morbid self-control.

Drinking, I became less narrow. I became, for myself, finally, unpredictable. At the age of twenty-nine, I had found a path into the open meadow, or the great teeming city, of life.

Let me put that another way: suddenly, for the first time, I was having fun being an adult.

It was around that time that I read Under the Volcano. I loved the book and I liked to read passages from it aloud.

But I didn't understand it. In addition to its exotic locale, it described an exotic experience: alcohol as an act of suicide. Alcohol as a flight not to life but from it.

If I were to read Under the Volcano today, it would not be the same book. (Re-read books are never the same, which is why there is no such thing as re-reading.) Lowry would now be describing an experience that has become a possibility, perhaps even an inevitability--an experience that, however faintly (or probably not very faintly) I now recognize.

So too does Light Years, by James Salter, a book I've just finished and which has shaken me as few works of art ever have.

Its account of the beauty of marriage, and of its pleasures, and of its terrible and insidious forms of loneliness, would have once been incomprehensible to me. I suppose I would have recognized--but without nostalgia, which makes recognition matter--its account of marriage as a form of refuge. And as a sight of sudden, permanent moments of beauty.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By headbutler on August 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
The main characters are named Viri and Nedra, and Lord knows that signals "pretentious." Ignore all that. No one writes about what happens between men and women better than Salter; you can see your own relationships in the 308 pages it takes to track the glory and fall of this marriage between an architect and his thin, troubled wife. And the sense of place! Here he is on the lure the Hamptons held for Nedra: "She was a creature of blue, flawless days, the sun of their noons hot as the African coast, the chill of the nights immense and clear." I started the book in that place on a morning so grey the sky and ocean merged; I read through the rain; I finished at night. A day well spent.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1996
Format: Paperback
James Salter takes you so deeply inside the marriage of Nedra and Viri that you know these people as well as your own family before the book is done. It is a heartbreaking portrayl of love that turns to mere companionship. The beautiful wife, Nedra, seeks soemthing she cannot attain from her husband, nor from her affairs, nor from fleeing to Europe. She stands as one of the most completely-drawn women in American ficiton, a modern Madame Bovary. As the husband and wife grow apart, their children become aloof, the house they create falls into disrepair. It is the most accurate portrayl of the joys and sadness of modern marriage that I have read
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cortland Kirkeby on August 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
. . . enjoys being seduced by an environment created by a writing style that artfully explores a soft nether region where poetry leaves off and prose kicks in.

What is it about this book that, on the whole, captivates and fascinates even though none of the component parts seem distinguishable?

The story line and character development are certainly thin. I still don't have any evidence why Nedra is "all that." It's just a given. And who are these folks anyway? I don't think any of them shop at Walmart, fret over gas prices or worry about being backstabbed at work. Getting divorced? Moving to Europe? No problem. Plenty of mystery money to pay for everything.

And so many abrupt surprises: Poof, someone dies. Poof, two people fall into bed. Poof, they're divorced. Maybe Maslow was right - freedom from financial worry apparently leaves more room for social acceptance anxiety.

But how to resist such a seductive and ideal world so well shielded from hardship - the kind of world easy to imagine while reading fiction offerings from Harpers or the New Yorker. Everyone is comfortably well off, drinking fine wine, telling tales of beautiful vacations, finding willing partners to fall into bed with. Even when sex is temporarily unavailable, the food, the quality of conversation and the backdrop scenery are incredible - and paid for.

Best of all, this ideal world is created with remarkably few words. Each word or phrase resembles a little dot, carefully written and placed. Once they are all connected in the imagination, the reader is immersed in that special world.

Too bad the book can't just go on forever, or be turned into a 10+ episode PBS mini-series a la Brideshead Revisited or even 17 volumes worth of "Master and Commander." Perhaps that's just another evidence of success, leaving just a little hungry or thirsty, wondering if one more fragment lies just around the corner.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out these pages to see more: roberts red wine, doubled up book, doubled up book

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Light Years
This item: Light Years
Price: $13.69
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com