by Elizabeth Jane Howard, dramatised by Sarah Daniels
Produced and Directed by Sally Avens and Marion Nancarrow.
As the Cazalet family gather for their annual summer holiday the onset of war is about to change everything.
In the hot summer of 1938, Home Place in the beautiful Sussex countryside is frantically being opened up and prepared for another Cazalet family holiday, as siblings Hugh, Edward, Rupert and Rachel - and their respective families - are reunited. Rupert is trying not to think about whether he married the beautiful but rather petulant Zoe too soon after his first wife's death; Hugh and his wife Sybil each try to put the other first, not necessarily to their mutual advantage; Edward is mulling on how he might be able to get away from his wife, Villy, to spend time with his mistress and Rachel is trying to find a private place to read her letter in secret. But the wider world is about to intrude on their lives forever and each is increasingly to wonder what their future may hold - for themselves and their children.
'The Light Years' is the first of four compelling Cazalet novels by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which together give a vivid insight into the lives, hopes and loves of three generations.
As Elizabeth Jane Howard approaches her 90th Birthday, Radio 4 is dramatising all four novels in 45 episodes, to be broadcast between New Year's Eve and July 2013.
When Elizabeth Jane Howard began writing the first of her four novels featuring the Cazalet family, her aims were simple: . "I wanted to write about my youth, and the ten years that straddled the Second World War. I also wanted to write about what domestic life was like for people at home. A lot has been written about the battles and the war in a more direct sense, but little had been said about the way the whole of England changed. When the war ended, everybody was in a different position from where they were when it started."
Two decades later, Howard's quartet of books -- The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion and Casting Off - charting the family's fortunes between 1937 and 1947 have sold over a million copies.
Martin Amis said of Elizabeth Jane Howard, "She is, with Iris Murdoch, the most interesting woman writer of her generation. An instinctivist, like Muriel Spark, she has a freakish and poetic eye, and a penetrating sanity."
The cast includes: Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Pip Torrens (Silk, Green Wing),
Lisa Dillon (The Knot of The Heart, Cranford), Ruth Gemmell (Fever Pitch, Moving On), Zoe Tapper (Mr Selfridge, Despearte Romantics), Raymond Coulthard (Emma, The English Patient), Dominic Mafham (Our Mutal Friend, Journey's End), Sarah-Jane Holm (A Bit of A Do, My Family and Other Animals), Naomi Frederick (As You Like It, The Trial of Tony Blair), Helen Schlesinger (The Way We Live Now, 24 Hour Party People) Alix Wilton Regan (King Lear, The Symmetry of Love) Flora Spencer-Longhurst (Leonardo, Father Brown), Georgia Groome (Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging)
The dramatists are Sarah Daniels and Lin Coghlan. Sarah is a highly respected theatre, television and radio writer; her play 'Masterpieces' was voted one of the most important of the 20th Century by the National Theatre. Lin Coghlan has written for stage, screen and radio; her recent dramatisations for Radio 4 include 'Ethan Frome' and 'Les Miserables'.
"Marking Time" follows in February.