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Light Years Paperback – January 31, 1995
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“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.”
“An absolutely beautiful, monstrous, important book.”
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."
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The Light Years characters all have flaws that draw people to them. Perfection isn’t so interesting so we want something to be off kilter and this novel is chock full of off kilter. The only character who is consistently rendered as physically perfect is Nedra. She is beautiful, thin, tall, sophisticated. We are told that she is interested in the heart of existence (meals, bed linen, clothing). Realy? “She does everything, she does nothing.” And her life is “concealed”. She is a case in point. She drives down to The City every day and shops for goodies at Zabar’s and pops into the art galleries. She shops for lovely clothes and the odd arty thing to bring home and show to her family. She breezes in the door everyday just in time to whip up a clever little dinner. She has a passionate affair. And yet this life is just not enough. She wants more. I tried but I just couldn’t make myself care about how her life turned out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I will never write a book as beautiful as Mr. Salter's LIGHT YEARS.Read more