Viri and Nedra Berland live a gilded life in upstate New York. Their days revolve around leisurely dinners, ingenious games with their two daughters and long, sun-kissed spells by the water. Nedra, with her brilliant smile and air of mystery, is a magnet for their urbane friends from the city. Viri, imaginative and witty, is host and entertainer. ...
Viri and Nedra Berland live a gilded life in upstate New York. Their days revolve around leisurely dinners, ingenious games with their two daughters and long, sun-kissed spells by the water. Nedra, with her brilliant smile and air of mystery, is a magnet for their urbane friends from the city. Viri, imaginative and witty, is host and entertainer. Together they have created what seems to be the perfect life. But there are cracks in their marriage that, as the years roll by, become crevasses. It seems that, in testing the limits of their happiness, Nedra and Viri are compelled to destroy it. Seductive, elegant and full of shadows, Light Years is a twentieth-century classic, a portrait of marriage that is also an exquisitely resonant study of paradise lost.
Near Fine in Wraps: shows only the faintest rubbing to the wrapper covers; considerable foxing to the top edge; a couple of smudges to the bottom edge; the yellow background field of the backstrip is very lightly sunned (the titles thereon remain unaffected, bold and clearly legible); else flawless. The binding is square and secure; the text is clean. Quite close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 308pp. First Edition Thus ; Fifth Printing. Trade Paperback. The courage to live life as it changes, as the faults that went unseen in the initial rush of novelty emerge, to adapt, continue and be happy, content, this I believe is the heart of this work. The small imperfections that erode to fatal flaws as the years pass, the union of marriage that grows old, and regret and a desire for something new becomes an obsession. And if the freedom is regained can it ever be as it was anticipated. How can anything desired for years, embellished and romanticized for decades ever deliver contentment? 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. There are the affairs, but even when the most intimate of acts takes place he handles it in a manner that is clear, pure, evocative, but never does he stoop to the profane. His treatment of the females he writes about is done with respect; he does not objectify the women he writes of even if they seem to offer themselves in a manner that would justify the word object. Males and females are flawed, they err, and they can seek answers and redemption, and again he lets you decide, he does not hand down Judgement. This is an amazing writer that I either missed, or many have, as his is some of the best work I have ever read. Comparisons are really unnecessary, take what you like about your favorite writers, and you will find something to love in this man's work.
Very Good. First Edition, later printing. Signed by Author. San Francisco, CA, North Point Press, 1982. Stated fourth printing, flat signed by the author on page bearing North Point's logo. Yellow trade paper with a Bonnard still life on front cover. String and glue line both visible within front cover; binding remains tight. Clean and bright pages, bottom right corner is bumped; moderate wear and spotty soiling to covers. This is the only signed copy of this printing we encountered in initial research.
SIGNED by author on title page; very good in stiff paper covers with illustrated wrap-around jacket; minor soiling/fading to jacket, lite wear to pageblock edges else a tight square unmarked copy in unclipped dust jacket.
I ordered this book because I had repeatedly stumbled on mentions of the author. He seemed to be a critic and author's author.
He is certainly good. His prose is more like poetry than that being written by anyone else I know of, and I don't mean "pretty" when I say like poetry. He does a lot of violence to the customary sentence syntax to create a prose impressionism.
This is a story of the joys, dissolution, and afterlife of a mid-20th century marriage between sophisticated, sympathetic adults with children, people who want more out of life than they get.
I think anyone who cares about the development of the novel in the 20th century will have to read this book, but for me it was pure joy.
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