Newland Archer saw little to envy in the marriages of his friends, yet he prided himself that in May Welland he had found the companion of his needs--tender and impressionable, with equal purity of mind and manners. The engagement was announced discreetly, but all of New York society was soon privy to this most perfect match, a union of families and circumstances cemented by affection.
Enter Countess Olenska, a woman of quick wit sharpened by experience, not afraid to flout convention and determined to find freedom in divorce. Against his judgment, Newland is drawn to the socially ostracized Ellen Olenska, who opens his eyes and has the power to make him feel. He knows that in sweet-tempered May, he can expect stability and the steadying comfort of duty. But what new worlds could he discover with Ellen? Written with elegance and wry precision, Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a tragic love story and a powerful homily about the perils of a perfect marriage.Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader and Freda at Freda's Voice respectively.
'On a January evening of the early seventies, Christine Nilsson was singing in Faust at the Academy of Music in New York. Though there was already talk of the erection, in remove metropolitan distances "above the Forties", of a new Opera House which should compete in costliness and splendour with those of the great European capitals, the world of fashion was still content to reassemble every winter in the shabby red and gold boxes of the sociable old Academy.' p.1I like this beginning. You get a bit of a sense of this 'world of fashion'. And Wharton's writing style is simple beautiful! I can't wait to dig into this one.
'As he wrote a word on his card and waited for an envelope he glanced about the embowered shop, and his eye lit on a cluster of yellow roses. He had never seen any as sun-golden before, and his first impulse was to send them to May instead of the lilies. But they did not look like her - there was something too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty.' p.56I loved how this moment shifted in perspective. Initially you start focusing on 'him' writing, but then it moves to the flowers and from there to May. Also, the last sentence is absolutely beautiful, I'm not quite sure why. It just really is.
So, that was me done for today! What are you teasing?