Review: The Light Years

The Light YearsThe Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My mother recommended this series to me quite some time ago, but it has taken me a while to begin reading it. She was right that I would love it. It reminds me a bit of the Forsyte Saga, only because of the type of somewhat nostalgic historical novel it is. One thing that fascinates me about this is how there is almost no overall plot whatsoever, unless it becomes clear throughout the series. Each character has things that happen to them, but I could not really say what the plot was. This aspect of the novel reminds me of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s *The Corner That Held Them* — though they have totally different styles and topics. Howard lets us in on the intimate details of these characters — some might say it is overloaded with detail, though I enjoyed it — and the way she is able to continue telling the story from various characters’ points of view, even when we see terrible things about certain characters, is impressive, as is the way Howard subtly lets us know when something bad is about to happen or be revealed. I’m sure I will be studying how Howard does this from a craft experience for some time.

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