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Casting Off by Elizabeth Jane Howard
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Casting Off (1995)

by Elizabeth Jane Howard

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The post-war years
By sally tarbox on 12 March 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
Fourth of the five Cazalet chronicles, and Elizabeth Jane Howard totally maintains the human interest as the reader continues to follow the very different lives of the family.
Opening just after the end of World War 2, the novel finds youngest brother Rupert newly returned from years missing in France - can he and Zoe resurrect their marriage? Meanwhile Edward's longterm affair continues, unbeknown to his wife; Hugh continues to mourn Sibyl's death, his loneliness compounded as his children go their own ways...

The younger generation too have their crises: Louise in a seemingly hopeless marriage; Polly, pretty but thwarted in love; the rather 'lost' Clary, whose life is spinning out of control...

Couldn't put it down; the final volume is sitting by my bed! ( )
  starbox | Mar 11, 2018 |
Het vierde deel van de Cazalets. Ook dit deel zat weer goed in elkaar, mooi geschreven, goed gedoseerd. Er wordt niet te veel en niet te weinig verteld. Een fijn happy end. Erg jammer dat de hele serie nu uit is. ( )
  elsmvst | Nov 14, 2017 |
WWII is over and the Cazalets resume their lives. The action in this book takes place between 1945 and 1947 and it's interesting watching people make decisions and live with the consequences, whether good or bad. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
July 1945. Hugh Cazalet, after the death of his wife Sybil, now suffers another loss as Miss Pearson, his secretary for 23 years, resigns. But the end of the European war is in sight. By the end of this book it is 1947, the war is over and there have been more engagements, marriages and divorces, births and deaths.
The title refers not just to ending relationships, but to letting go of war-time life. This is more complicated than anticipated. Longing for something for so long, does not make it easy to live through when it happens. Change is challenging. Post-war life is not all it is expected to be, in some ways it is harder. Though the privations of rationing continue, often harsher than during the war itself, possibilities for new life unfold like a flower in bloom. But there are no easy answers.
The three cousins are grown-up– Polly, Louise and Clary now face life as young adults, their idealism tainted by the sadness and disappointments of war. But there are surprises in store for Clary, while the Cazalet brothers must make a business decision which affects the financial future of the whole family. Can they still afford the Sussex home, the anchor for the family throughout the war, and home to The Duchy and The Brig? And where will this extended war-time family now live, separated from one another?
Expecting happiness after the end of the war, ordinary life disappoints as the trials and disappointments continue. Louise’s friend Stella explains: “… when anyone becomes more than a certain amount unhappy they get cut off. They don’t feel any comfort or concern or affection that comes from other people – all of that simply disappears inside some bottomless pit and when people realize that, they stop trying to be affectionate or comforting. Would you like some grey coffee, or some pink-brown tea?”
Howard’s characters are so clearly drawn that they became real people for me, while I read these books. They feel like real friends. That is a huge achievement for any novelist.
Read more of my book reviews @ http://www.sandradanby.com/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Oct 31, 2015 |
2014, Audible Inc., Read by Jill Balcon

Book Description: adapted from Amazon.co.uk
The aftermath of war, and the slow dawning of a new era of freedom and opportunity, shape the destinies of the Cazalets in the fourth volume of this magnificent family saga. Polly, Clary and Louise, now grown up, are ready to discover the truth about the adult world. While Rupert, Hugh and Edward must make the choices that will decide their own – and the family’s – future.

For the Cazalets, and all those close to them, one end is another beginning . . .

My Review:
I will remember Casting Off as Howard’s novel on the Cazalet relationships: siblings with one another and with parents; adults with lovers; husbands with wives, and vice versa; relationships between friends and acquaintances; even with pets. My favourite parts of the novel, perhaps not surprisingly, deal with Polly, Clary, and Louise – and while it’s true they are now grown up, I am not so certain they are ready to discover the truth about the adult world, which can be cruel and unforgiving, and which is inhabited by cads as well as gentlemen. Still, the young ladies grow from their heartaches and blunders, and, for the most part, they are flourishing by the end of this installment.

Having read the chronicles one after the next thus far, I was going to delay reading All Change, but I cannot! Howard’s series is one I highly recommend, and for those readers who enjoy audiobooks, Jill Balcon is truly exceptional! ( )
1 vote lit_chick | Oct 26, 2015 |
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To Sybille Bedford with love and homage
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'So I though if I stayed until the autumn, it would give you plenty of time to find someone suitable. Naturally I wouldn't want to put you out.'
Quotations
They went to Jepsons' [in Hastings] ... Clary was taking ages over choosing which fountain pen she was going to buy.... "They're always squeaky and hard at first," Polly said. "You know you have to use the nib to get it good." "I know that. But if I get a wide nib now, it will probably get too wide, but the medium one doesn't feel as though it will ever get right." ... Clary licked each nib before she dipped the pen in a bottle of ink and scribbled her name on small pieces of paper on the counter. ... "It's very important to lick new nibs before you use them," Clary was saying [to the assistant], "but I expect you tell people that. Could I try that Waterman - the maroon one - just to see?" It cost twelve and six ... Clary tried pen after pen ...Clary said, "I'll have the Medium Relief." "That'll be seven and six," he said.
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The aftermath of war, and the slow dawning of a new era of freedom and opportunity, shape the destinies of the Cazalets in the final volume of this magnificent family saga. Polly, Clary and Louise, now grown up, are ready to discover the truth about the adult world. While Rupert, Hugh and Edward must make the choices that will decide their own - and the family's - future. For the Cazalets, and all those close to them, one end is another beginning.… (more)

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