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Autres Temps...

Edith Wharton

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I'm not sure that you realize. They're all right."

It was the very phrase that the young lady in the next seat had applied to the unknown "Leila," and its recurrence on Ide's lips flushed Mrs. Lidcote with fresh courage.

"I wish I knew just what you mean. The two young women next to me—the ones with the wonderful hats—have been talking in the same way."

"What? About Leila?"

"About a Leila; I fancied it might be mine. And about society in general. All their friends seem to be divorced; some of them seem to announce their engagements before they get their decree. One of them—her name was Mabel—as far as I could make out, her husband found out that she meant to divorce him by noticing that she wore a new engagement-ring."

"Well, you see Leila did everything 'regularly,' as the French say," Ide rejoined.

"Yes; but are these people in society? The people my neighbours talk about?" Read More

Community Reviews

Good

such a sad story of a woman bound by convention to be shunned by society even as its attitides are changing

A brilliant, heart-wrenching encapsulation of changing attitudes to marriage and divorce, comparing the experiences of mother and daughter.

After divorce, Mrs Lidcote went into voluntary exile in Europe. She returns to NY, anxious about the wedding of her divorced daughter, Leila. The mother does...more

Mrs. Lidcote has hastily returned from abroad upon learning that her daughter has gotten divorced and remarried. She remembers how shabbily she was treated by society after her own divorce, and wants to be there in her daughter's time of trial. As it happens, times have changed, and so have socie...more

Edith Wharton is a master writer. Her wit and rather wry observations and satire all shine through in this short read. She keeps you just aloof enough to see the bigger picture of society and just close enough to understand her characters. Great author who knew her craft!

I've read this in less than an hour while waiting for my hair to be done at the hair dresser's salon.. I find it easy and quick to read, depth in the analysis of the characters and the circumstances of the historical period they live in, but It didn't amaze me. Enjoyable.

A most excellent story.
How many of us have tried to read the meaning behind the words? We hardly dare to believe that all is well.
Reality, meaning, change and lack of it are all a part of this story.

Mrs. Lidcote has done enough "cutting" in her day to know when she is being "cut". Her friends and family tell her it's just her imagination, but she knows better. There was a lot of "cutting" in Edith Wharton's novels. Maybe it was a big part of New York high society back in the day. It actually...more