Friday, 15 July 2011
Hudson river bracketed (Wharton)
Given my previous experiences with Wharton (with one exception, not very good), I'm not quite sure why I picked out Hudson River bracketed in the Oxfam bookshop. I suppose it was a combination of the immaculate original green edition, and the fact that because of this challenge, I will have to read it at some point.
It is one of Wharton's later novels, and the high society theme which characterises some of her most classic books (which is the thing I think I struggle with most), is less apparent. The book can essentially be summed up as "a portrait of a young man"; the main character is Vance Weston, who upon becoming ill, is sent off to convalesce with cousins who live by the Hudson river. While he is there, he meets Halo, a writer, who inspires in him a great love of literature, and the book follows his struggles to become a writer. He meets Halo later in life, and she introduces him to the literary circles of New York. Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed the first half of the book much more - although it does pose an interesting comparison between what Edith Wharton paints as the naieve Midwest and the glittering New York.
There's a sequel, which I also picked up at the same time - The gods arrive. I shall try to have a read of that in the next week, although I have to say that it is not a sequel I am especially looking forward to reading.
This one has been published twice, once in original green, and once in modern green.