The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence' is so well written; words cascading onto the page, tantalisingly readable, evoking a past era in New York society. I have not read Edith Wharton's work before, but already have a profound respect for her skills; using words, as a conjuror - to engage attention, to tantalise. She rewards the attention of the reader with a tale well told and wonderful cameos of some of the characters, that are full of humour and perception.
Let me offer you some excerpts:
Mrs Manson Mingott:
'.... though, when she bought a dress or a piece of furniture, she took care that it should be of the best, she could not bring herself to spend much on the transient pleasures of the table. ...... her food was as poor as Mrs Archer's, and her wines did nothing to redeem it.'Ch.2 p.10
A part of her description -
'A flight of double chins led down to the dizzy depths of a still-snowy bosom veiled in snowy muslins that were held in place by a portrait of the late Mr. Mingott; and around and below, wave after wave of black silk surged away over the edges of a capacious armchair, with two tiny white hands poised like gulls on the surface of the billows.'Ch.4 p.18
Newland Archer's thoughts as he looks at the guests assembled in the church for his wedding:
''How like a first night at the Opera!' he thought, recognising all the same faces in the same boxes (no, pews), and wondering if, when the Last Trump sounded, Mrs Selfridge Merry would be there with the same towering ostrich feathers in her bonnet, and Mrs. Beaufort with the same diamond earrings and the same smile - and whether suitable proscenium seats were already prepared for them in another world.'Ch.19 p.114
And the Thanksgiving sermon:
'Dr. Ashmore, the new Rector of St. Matthew's, had been chosen because he was very 'advanced'; his sermons were considered bold in thought and novel in language. When he fulminated against fashionable society he always spoke of its 'trend'; and to Mrs Archer it was terrifying and yet fascinating to feel herself part of a community that was trending.'Ch.26 p.162
If you have not read this book and are delighted by the snippets ... read and enjoy!