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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Prelude to War: The Light Years; Ecology

I'm in a bit of a low spell, lacking energy and enthusiasm. Yesterday, exhaustion set in and as a precautionary measure, I took that dreadful Theraflu. Took a nap and alternately read, doze, and listened to election returns last night.

Finished The Light Years. I really became involved with this extended family and wish I had Vol 2 in the Cazalet Chronicles, Marking Time right now. The first volume concludes at the brink of WWII, and one of the things I've found most interesting is the way people "heard" the news of the events leading up to the war; we all "hear" information differently according to the way we process the information. The hope that war could be avoided, the attempts to appease Hitler, the attitude that Hitler was a joke...slowly dissolving.

There are SO MANY characters. In the Cazalet family, there are 17 characters who have to be sorted, then there are servants, in-laws, and quite a few others to keep up with. Once the characters are sorted by family, it is much like keeping straight with the people in your own life.

This is a description of Lady Rydal (a very minor character, but I love the description):

Day after day she sat, cast upon her huge chair like a beautiful shipwreck, scorning the frail and petty efforts at salvage that her children attempted with visits of the kind that Villy was now making. She could do nothing, but knew how everything was to be done; her taste in the management of her house, her food, her flowers was both original and good, but she considered that there were no occasions left worthy of her rising to them, and the extravagance and gaity that Villy could remember was now stagnant, mildewed with self-pity.

In this first volume, the characters are introduced and their personalities skillfully elucidated. With so many characters available, the options for developments abound...a kind of pre-war soap opera preparing for events to come.

If you are interested in environmental and ecological studies and possibilities: David Orr and here, and here, and here, and here . I love the idea of planning for better land use, better communities, and more satisfying urban living.


  1. I thought I was the only person who knew and loved the Cazalets. I think it's time to re-read the book.


  2. Mary -I think Danielle has read them. I really liked the first one and look forward to the next.

  3. Jen, I went to read a synopsis of this on Amazon and discovered that I OWN IT already! It was one I packed for a visit to NY a trip or two back and I never got to reading now it is going into a new stack...that's all I seem to do is reorganize my stacks, they never get shorter..must be the internet ordering thing I do...=-/

  4. Debby - :) See, I'm definitely not to blame for this one! You would fit right in on the "reading from the stacks" challenge...

  5. Yes, I should probably join that challenge...since that is my goal right now, to read only from my stacks...and stacks...and stacks...=-)

  6. Debby - I've sent you an email with the link!

  7. Oh, I loved the Cazalet Chronicles! I think I read all of them - you do get very involved, though I remember having to look back to see who everyone was and how they were related. Very warmly written and enjoyable, even when dealing with the realities of life before and during WWII.

  8. Jackie - I need to get the next one before too much about the characters has been lost. I'm also eager to know what develops along with the advent of war.