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Talk to me about the Cazalets

(28 Posts)
JemimaMuddledUp Thu 01-Sep-16 22:27:43

I keep seeing the series recommended on MN book threads, but never hear anyone outside MN talk about them.

What are they like?

magimedi Thu 01-Sep-16 22:40:12

Wonderful - a tale of life that is now gone. A dip into recent history.

NicknameUsed Thu 01-Sep-16 22:41:39

I loved them. I was tempted to read them after they dramatised the books on TV 15 years ago, and I was not disappointed.

I tried reading other books by the same author but they aren't as good as The Cazalets.

NancyJoan Thu 01-Sep-16 22:43:07

My very favourite books, have read them over and over. Like slipping into a hot bath and sinking under the water. Bliss.

MermaidofZennor Thu 01-Sep-16 22:54:57

I've been reading them over the summer. Just started the last one today. Have loved them. Really well written, authentic depiction of well to do family life from late 1930s to 1950s.

JemimaMuddledUp Fri 02-Sep-16 07:19:00

You are definitely selling them to me! The TV adaptation seems to have completely passed me by.

I have just reserved the first one from the library. I presume they need to be read in order?

DustOffYourHighestHopes Fri 02-Sep-16 07:20:11

Book People have all five books for £5.

And yes they need to be read in order.

Very well written, Gripping (in a way), complex but not confusing.

annandale Fri 02-Sep-16 07:25:05

I don't personally find them hot bath-like as there is so much strong emotion in them, but certainly couldn't put them down.

I also thought the TV adaptation was really terrible and so was the fifth one

They are quite old now so that's probably why you don't hear about them.

JemimaMuddledUp Fri 02-Sep-16 10:08:49

Ooh, tempted by the Book People offer. I saw the whole set in Oxfam Books the other day for £1.99 each, but resisted as I'm trying not to buy books that I will only read once and support the library instead. But obviously if someone else has one out you have to wait for them to bring it back - getting your reservation timing right is tricky! But at £5 for 5 I could just send them to Oxfam when I finish.

alltouchedout Fri 02-Sep-16 10:13:36

I liked the first book the most and was really disappointed with the fifth- that's not how I saw a lot of the characters progressing at all and I wish she'd not written it, so long after the others- but I do recommend them. They must be pretty good for me to have been so cross with the final instalment if you know what I mean- if I hadn't really cared about them I wouldn't have been so cross with the way she wrote them in that book!
Still wouldn't want to be or be friends with any of them though.

MermaidofZennor Fri 02-Sep-16 10:13:37

Jemima - you won't want to part with them once you've read them. I bought mine from The Book People, and I'm keeping them forever. They will be on my shelves waiting for them to be re-read. They are gorgeous.

Flossyfloof Fri 02-Sep-16 14:05:08

I really like her novels I think I have got a couple of Cazalet ones but not yet read them as I haven't got the earlier ones!

GrassW1dow Fri 02-Sep-16 16:06:37

They're simply superb. And yes, I find them comforting too. Everything you imagine England just before and during the war to be.... but by and large at one remove from the horrors of the war (although the family is affected of course).

It's a family saga. And no one quite captures the language and mindset of children as convincingly and as humorously as Howard. You feel really invested in the fully rounded characters.

painbadger Wed 07-Sep-16 16:03:35

They are about a posh family before, during and after WW2. The garndfather and grandmother have a wood importing business and their daughter and sons and their families end up living in their folks country estate during the war - so you get to know the families and the children and follow them as they grow up. I didn't think it was my cup of tea (wit the psoho family bleating about war and relationship hardships)but I ended up reading all 5 books (agree with others the 5th book is weird) one after another. Comfort reading.

Rainatnight Wed 07-Sep-16 16:05:23

I've just started the first one and it's blissful. I'm on holiday so perfect but just as good for a snuggly comfort read in Autumn. Don't know what took me so long.

GinIsIn Wed 07-Sep-16 16:07:30

They're amazing! I read them way before I was on mumsnet and was so pleased to find that other people love them too! Also the bbc did a really good radio adaptation that's available on audible.

MermaidofZennor Wed 07-Sep-16 22:28:30

I'm just over half way through the fifth novel and don't like the way she's changed the personalities of some of the characters. It is peculiar. I think she left it too long between completing the quartet and then deciding to write the fifth one, so much so that she had forgotten details. It has a very different feel and it is rather spoiling my overall enjoyment of the series. However, I will finish it just to see what happens, once and for all.

Purists may want to leave the series at the end of book four and I don't think there would be anything wrong with doing that.

NeverNic Thu 08-Sep-16 00:18:15

I'm intrigued. Are these real or fictional people?

annandale Thu 08-Sep-16 06:16:46

It is written as fiction but reading Howard's memoir Slipstream, there is a lot of factual basis, at least to the life circumstances of the characters. However, Howard is always aiming to get at the truth of how people might be thinking, which gives the characters far more depth, and also makes the plot less to the foreground.

I've always felt Clary, Polly and Louise were different aspects of herself though.

GinIsIn Thu 08-Sep-16 06:20:34

Oh god yes - I second stopping at book 4. It's almost like she fell out of love with them all between writing 4 and starting 5 and wanted to punish them.

Naicehamshop Sat 10-Sep-16 11:24:15

Loved all of these although found the fifth one (written a long time after the rest) disappointing.
If you read her autobiography you realise they are closely based on her life and family.
Don't agree that they are"comfort reading" hmm

Rainatnight Sat 10-Sep-16 11:58:53

Could anyone help me settle the question of how their name is pronounced? Is it Caz-al-ay or -ette?

GinIsIn Sat 10-Sep-16 12:20:01

It's Caz-a-lette.

talllikejerryhall Sat 10-Sep-16 12:22:50

Absolutely incredible series - inspired me to write a book (which I never finished, but never mind!)

ilovevenice Sat 10-Sep-16 12:23:35

I know some RL Cazelets and they pronounce it Caz-litt.

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