Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Madame de Tremynes (Wharton)

Madame de Treymes is a short novella, inspired by Wharton's foray into Parisian society at the start of the 20th century. It tells the story of two people abroad in Paris, Fanny, and John, both from New York. Fanny is unhappily married and John is intent on trying to convince her to divorce her husband and marry him instead! It's a very clever novella dealing with the issues of foreigners abroad and women's position in social hierarchy.

In addition to the title novella, there are three more in the volume; The touchstone, Sanctuary and Bunner sisters. What I liked best about the collection was the contrast between the novellas included which really prove that Edith Wharton is pretty masterful at writing and concieving plots. My favourite novella was the last one about the Bunner sisters - about two spinsters who run a sewing shop in New York in 1916. They buy a clock from a mysterious old man and the rest of the novella (I won't give too much away) Apparently it was originally serialised as a magazine story, which I can see gives it pace.

Just published the once by Virago, this was among my lovely stash of VMCs that Fleur Fisher sent me.