|My copy looks like this one. I think Scribner was the original publisher.
I am a huge fan of Edith Wharton -- Ethan Frome and House of Mirth are two of my all-time favorites, not just favorite classics. I've been hoarding her books and have had Twilight Sleep and The Glimpses of the Moon on the TBR shelves for a long time, so I planned to choose one or the other for the Back to the Classics Challenge -- maybe both! But I picked The Glimpses of the Moon and I'm counting it as my Classic by a Woman Author.
Published in 1922, it's not one of her more famous works, so I was a little worried that it might not be among her best. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. It's the story of a young American couple, Nick and Susy Lansing, who are newlyweds, and it begins as they're enjoying a honeymoon in a villa on Lake Como.
|The original cover, maybe. Could it be the honeymoon villa in Lake Como?
Like many of Wharton's protagonists, they're society people, but they're not actually rich -- they're basically hangers-on who sponge off their wealthy friends. Theirs is not a traditional love story by any means. They've set up an unusual agreement -- they know that they can live for at least a year on the wedding gifts and cash that their wealthy friends give them; after that, if one of them gets a better offer, they're free to divorce and move on, which sounds rather cold-hearted and mercenary, more like a business agreement than the basis of a marriage.
Of course, things don't work out as planned. Various friends lend them fabulous houses and apartments that they're not using, but in reality, nothing is really free -- there's always some kind of condition or favor that's expected in return. After awhile, this causes problems in the marriage, and then circumstances change that could upset the original arrangement altogether. Susy and Nick start to realize that their marriage has changed them both, and they begin to want different things out of life.
This book had some of the same themes as Wharton's previous novels, but it still seemed modern. Susy Lansing reminded me of Lily Bart from House of Mirth, and what Lily's story might have been if it were set in the 1920s instead of thirty years before. Nick Lansing also reminded me of Lawrence Selden.
|I love this art-deco cover.
Besides Twilight Sleep, I still have some other Wharton works unread -- The Children and Madame de Treymes and Three Novellas, which I found last year at Half-Price Books and couldn't pass up. Bloggers, have you read any of these? Which one should I read next?