This exquisite, resonant novel by PEN/Faulkner winner James Salter is a brilliant portrait of a marriage by a contemporary American master. It is the story of Nedra and Viri, whose favored life is centered around dinners, ingenious games with their children, enviable friends, and near-perfect days passed skating on a frozen river or sunning on the beach. But even as he lingers over the surface of their marriage, Salter lets us see the fine cracks that are spreading through it, flaws that will eventually mar the lovely picture beyond repair. Seductive, witty, and elegantly nuanced, Light Years is a classic novel of an entire generation that discovered the limits of its own happiness - and then felt compelled to destroy it.
©1975 James Salter (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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"A story of ordinary unhappiness"
The book covers most of the life of Nedra and Ivri, a middle-class suburban couple with two children. They go through life withouth true values, intimacy and any deep sense of realities. There are hopes (no true passions) and rather trivial dreams (traveling to Europe, glamour , wealth, the sexy secretary..) ; their life fades away and ends almost like a candle that has burned out in the dark. Beautifully written, but unengaging , sad and,at times , almost boring.
"Old school unabashed alpha male"
I love the spare writing style and the unabashed view into the mind of an uncompromised alpha male. It's a rare thing in good literature. Acceptable in MadMen days, but cowed in our age of gender equality. Glad that there is equality, but men and women are NOT the same.
He reflected the personality of the main character very well.
"Not my favorite purchase, not my worse..."
Story was well written, but it bore me at times. Wasn't excited to find out the end. It took me a while to finish.
"Elegant and elusive"
I understand why other writers prize James Salters as a novelist. His scenes are vivid, evocative, and also oblique. There is a fascinating combination of detail given and fact withheld. Like Proust, he tells you a lot--but leaves out a lot as well. His prose recreates the feeling of certain friendships: colorful and engaging in the moment, and then somewhat puzzling in the aftermath. Yet the characters take on so much life in Salter's masterful hands. I greatly enjoyed "Light Years": arty but not arch, poetic but not self-indulgent--nothing goes on too long, everything proportionate. And no one writes similes like Salter. I reveled in it, but readers who are in search of straightforward, page-turning narrative could get frustrated This is literary fiction of the highest quality.
The narrator Mark Boyett, is very good in all the important ways--his rhythm is just right, he evokes the different characters (with their many foreign accents) nicely, and he doesn't moon over the lyrical sections. My only gripe is that he mispronounces foreign words from time to time, a pet peeve of mine: he says "restina" for "retsina," for example, puts the wrong accent on the Italian word "facile..." You get the picture. It's a small blemish on a fine achievement. Boyett found the right tonality for this delicate novel, which I would not have thought conducive to an audiobook.
"Salter's fine poetic prose"
IA beautiful melancholy novel of a certain time and place, well read. The portrait's are intimate, the mood languorous and the sense of time feels wonderfully real.
The title is perfect: one travels at the speed of light through the full arcs of exquisitely described lives, all the while seeming to moving in slow motion, captivated by minutiae.
Some of the most wonderful sentences in the English language are here.
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