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.
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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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