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Light Years Paperback – January 31, 1995
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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—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.”
“An absolutely beautiful, monstrous, important book.”
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
It is 1958 and we are just north of Manhattan in Westchester County. Nedra, her husband, Ari and their friends speak differently from you and me (or at least I hope they do), like certain people of their time who have moved up the Hudson and out of the city to raise their children. They bring with them the bohemian, esthetically elevated ambience of their life in the Village and the upper West Side. They are affluent, they are knowledgeable, they are sure of themselves. When they entertain they drink Margaux sitting beneath a Chagall print and eat cheeses that come in thin boxes from Zabar’s . If no one is around to see you eat oranges and chocolate for breakfast is it still cool? Just wondering.
After a bit, Salter’s characters began to irritate me with their affected habits and their self obsessed lifestyle. They live their lives as though someone is filming it in real time. But okay, we don’t have to like the people we’re reading about.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Light Years by James Salter sets a mood, a pace, a feeling about the passage of time, about the beauty and ugliness of the world, and our ability, as people, to make the best of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eric Maroney
The more James Salter I read the more I want to read. It's not just the often beautiful use of the English language. It's the deep insight into the human condition.Published 2 months ago by Steven W. Bell
Vivid and imagery rich, this journey is long and true without feeling overbearing. A good read if you're in the mood for a modem tale of the complexities of love in an... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Cory
The book has some passages that are compelling and insightful with lovely use of language. Too much of the time, though it felt disjointed, and I had trouble following which... Read morePublished 4 months ago by BookWorld
You pick up this book and you're introduced to Viri and Nedra, a couple who are married (happily, perhaps) at the dawn of the Sixties. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Trevor Seigler
Excellent writer, such a way with words. Makes you ponder.....Published 6 months ago by Teresa Schlauch
Too much introspection and lacks cohesiveness in the storyline. It took me a while to capture the rhythm of this book. However, it gets points for some beautiful similes.Published 6 months ago by Susan Wierzbicki
If Earnest Hemingway had fathered a child on Scott Fitzgerald, the result would have been James Salter. Read morePublished 6 months ago by A reader
Read James Salter as long as you still can read...
His style is so special. Arrived in good condition. I would suggest James Salter is an American author to collect.