Pour a stiff drink
- BuyAll Change by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Mantle, 573 pp, £18.99, November 2013, ISBN 978 0 230 74307 6
Elizabeth Jane Howard had been a novelist for forty years before she published The Light Years, the first volume of the Cazalet chronicles, in 1990. The fifth and final volume, All Change, was published in 2013, and she died in January this year, aged ninety. Her stepson Martin Amis advised her to embark on the Cazalet books, when she was hesitating between possibilities. It was good advice – and not only because they brought her solid sales and secured her popularity. The material of the chronicles seems like Howard’s natural and inevitable subject: the tangled but ordinary enough private lives of a fairly undistinguished upper-middle-class family, loosely based on her own, between the 1930s and 1950s.