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After Julius [Hardcover]

Elizabeth Jane Howard
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov 1965
Originally published in 1965, a novel telling of how the last heroic action of a man who has been dead for twenty years, still affects the lives of his widow and two daughters. From the author of THE LONG VIEW and THE SEA CHANGE.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd; 1st edition (Nov 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224610376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224610377
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,086,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Jane Howard was the author of fifteen highly acclaimed novels. The Cazalet Chronicles - The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change - have become established as modern classics and have been adapted for a major BBC television series and most recently for BBC Radio 4. In 2002 Macmillan published Elizabeth Jane Howard's autobiography, Slipstream. In that same year she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Product Description

About the Author

Elizabeth Jane Howard is the author of thirteen highly acclaimed novels, most recently Falling in 1999. The Cazalet Chronicles - Casting Off, The Light Years, Marking Time and Confusion - have become established as modern classics and were adapted for a BBC television series in 2001. In 2002 Macmillan published her autobiography, Slipstream, and she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After Julius 16 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First published in 1965, Elizabeth Jane Howard's fourth novel 'After Julius' focuses on the family of Julius Grace, the story beginning twenty years after the death of Julius, who was shot and killed during the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940. Esme, Julius's widow, is fifty eight when we first meet her; she lives alone in Sussex and enjoys her comfortable home and pretty garden. She has two daughters living in a shared flat in London: the stunningly beautiful Cressida (Cressy), a concert pianist, who is in her late thirties; and the quietly attractive Emma, who is in her late twenties and works for the family firm of publishers. Cressy, who was widowed during the war after a very brief marriage, has a string of unsatisfactory relationships behind her and is, at present, involved in an unhappy affair with a married man; Emma, is very wary of men and has just begun a friendship with Daniel, a practically penniless poet who is published by Emma's firm, and who is from a rather different section of the social scale to the upper-middle-class Graces. In addition, we meet Doctor Felix King, a middle-aged man who, when he was in his twenties, had an affair with Esme whilst Julius was still alive, and now home from working abroad, wants to meet up with Esme whom he has not seen for twenty years. (No spoilers, we learn all of this fairly early on in the novel). One weekend, all of these characters, and a few additional extras (one of them a disastrous surprise for at least one member of the family) congregate at Esme's home where, at the dinner party from hell, some rather surprising home truths are revealed and where we learn more about what actually happened to Julius. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super story 15 Feb 2014
By Glor
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful story. The writer was so good and will be sadly missed. After Julius is one of her best novels.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar television sets 15 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
There are a few admirable linguistic felicities in this book which remind me of Jane Austen, something I feel rather ambiguous about. Lovely though these felicities are to work out, do they belong, I wonder, in a modern novel? Though, again, this is not quite a modern novel. Set in the late-1950s, it is about Esme, a fading but still game lady of 58, who is visited by her former lover Felix for a long weekend. Felix has turned up out of the blue. During the war he was a reserved occupation doctor and their love affair was partly the cause of Esme's husband Julius taking himself off to help at Dunkirk, where he was killed. This upset Felix so much that he immediately joined up, had a fairly unremarkable war and then devoted himself to looking after refugees in Korea, until returning to England to become a GP.

Also part of Esme's ménage are her two daughters, Cressida, who, having had a series of affairs with married men, is about to fall dramatically in love with Felix, and Emma, who has just met an odd poet from the lower classes, Daniel, and is about to fall for him in a similarly ton-of-bricks way.

Everyone turns up for a weekend at Esme's comfortable country house and it is all terribly fraught. In a certain kind of novel the word `vulgar' is used to denote anything modern or working class, and it comes up, amusingly (not intentionally) here, in relation to things like television sets. Apart from the odd anachronism like that, this is, however, rather an unexpectedly good novel. One cannot care too much about the sluttish Cressida, but Esme herself has pathos, and Emma is nicely bold and virginal by turns. All in all, a cracking good read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A reconsideration of a favourite 6 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I wish I could give this 3 and a half stars. I first read this novel about 30 years ago, along with all of EJH's others, and I count myself a die-hard fan. She never writes less than beautifully and with great wit and humour, and often her novels (particularly "Something in Disguise" and "Getting It Right") are heart-breaking; I'm not such a huge fan of the Cazalet series, although I did enjoy most of them. But, coming back to "After Julius" probably 15 years after I last re-read it... yes I liked most of it, loved the writing, but... something jarred. Now, to me, it has the feeling of a very definitely 1960s stage play more than a novel. What really jarred and offended and annoyed me this time was the character of Daniel. No doubt he's supposed to be a charming naif, but he comes across like a simpleton, almost retarded, certainly childish if not childlike in his ignorance, greed and stupidity. It's impossible to believe in him as a writer. What could this emotional illiterate possibly write? Worse -- he's violently, brutally misogynist, and a rapist. He is loathsome, and although I wasn't so conscious of it on past writings, now he spoils the book entirely for me, and I wanted Emma to be protected from him. As usual with Howard, the more minor characters are sometimes the most effective -- the doctor's wife and the wonderul old Major Hawkes stand out. But if only Howard were still alive to rewrite this without the truly horrible Daniel Brick! Then it would be 5-star along with her rest. It's simplest to say that in that one, unfortunately major, respect the book has not stood the test of time.
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