About The Book
Susanna Moore has long been defined by her critically acclaimed novels—complex and compelling works such as In the Cut and My Old Sweetheart. Now in paperback, Moore’s Light Years is a shimmering look at the early life of this cherished novelist. Taking the form of a Commonplace Book, it mixes reminiscences with passages from famous works of literature that were formative in her younger years. A startling exploration of youth, family, and the writers who shaped her life and art, Light Years transports readers to the halcyon world of 1950s Hawai’i—a world where beauty and danger were never far from the surface.
Born in Hawai’i at a time when the island chain was separated from the U.S. mainland by five days ship travel, Moore was raised in a secluded paradise of water, light, and color. As a child she spent endless days holed up with a bundle of books while the sound of the ocean and the calls of her brothers and sister drifted toward her through the palm grove. All around her, Moore saw flashes of the ocean described in those pages: a force of kaleidoscopic beauty and romantic possibility, but with an undercurrent of unfathomable darkness. In Light Years: A Girlhood in Hawai’i, she weaves reminiscences of her childhood with some of her favorite pieces of literature—excerpts from Robinson Crusoe, Moby-Dick, Treasure Island, Kon-Tiki, To the Lighthouse, and many others.
Although Moore now lives in New York, the sea remains her constant companion. Light Years marks her return to her island world.
“A lush and beautiful book; her reminisces read in many cases like a series of dreams. . . . Light Years artfully recalls a time when life often felt carefree, even when it wasn’t.” —Andrew Ervin, The Washington Post Book World
“A sense of opium dreams, of floating back into memories with an unsentimental wistfulness . . . the sea trickled into Moore’s style, roiled around in her thinking. Hold this little memoir up to your ear like a seashell and you’ll hear it, easy.” —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“A most beautiful book dedicated to two great loves: memory and literature.” —Die Zeit
“Marvelous tales of a lost paradise, of love and of the sea.” —Elle (Germany)
“There is a gentle luminosity to Susanna Moore’s recollections, like the reflection of the sun in the sea.” —Stuttgarter Zeitung
“Time and again Moore quotes from the classics of world and maritime literature with which she grew up. The beauty of her own book, however, remains unmistakable throughout.” —Loop (Germany)