Thursday, 4 February 2010
The sheltered life (Glasgow) 61
According to the blurb inside the jacket, Ellen Glasgow is considered one of America's most eminent classic writers, along with Willa Cather and Edith Wharton. I was thus intrigued as to what I would make of The sheltered life, since I like Cather immensely, but am less enthusiastic about Wharton.
The book tells the story of a number of characters living in Queensborough, a small town in the American South around the turn of the last century, told from the perspective of 76-year old General Archbald and his granddaughter Jenny Blair. The book mainly deals with the changing circumstances due to the growth of industry in the run up to the First World War and describes how this impacts on the mores of religion and convention. Bits of the book amused me, such as the opening scene where Jenny is reading Little Women, and being paid 1c per page by her grandfather (a lucrative deal since the book is over 500pp long), but despite this promising opening I struggled to enjoy it.
Just published the once by Virago, the edition had a fascinating introduction by Glasgow which discussed how she went about writing and how she concieved The sheltered life.