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Edith Wharton

Book Overview: 

In the short story Xingu, six society ladies get together regularly to broaden their minds. It's a culture club they've named the Lunch Club. You can't just show up to a meeting and become a member, oh no, you must be recommended by someone important. While each lady has issues with one or more of the other members, they universally agree that Mrs Roby was a mistake. And she came so highly recommended, by a professor no less. Tsk-tsk.

Occasionally, they have in experts to give talks and contribute to the discussion. The ladies are all a-twitter over their next guest, author of The Wings of Death, Osric Dane. Mrs Ballinger will play hostess to the great lady, even though Mrs Plinth has a superior house (with a footman, thank you very much). The big day comes and the author arrives but she looks down her nose at the group leaving the ladies at a loss for words. They don't know what to do, until Mrs Roby starts talking about Xingu.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .hat it must always be a question whether a book can instruct unless it elevates."

"Oh—" murmured Mrs. Leveret, now feeling herself hopelessly astray.

"I don't know," said Mrs. Ballinger, scenting in Miss Van Vluyck's tone a tendency to depreciate the coveted distinction of entertaining Osric Dane; "I don't know that such a question can seriously be raised as to a book which has attracted more attention among thoughtful people than any novel since 'Robert Elsmere.'"

"Oh, but don't you see," exclaimed Laura Glyde, "that it's just the dark hopelessness of it all—the wonderful tone-scheme of black on black—that makes it such an artistic achievement? It reminded me when I read it of Prince Rupert's mani. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A satirical short story focussing on the pretentious attitude of a group of women in an elite club.

‘The Lunch Club’ was founded by a few “huntresses of erudition” to pursue culture as a group. After a few successful years, they now host distinguished strangers to further their quest for knowledge. T

Xingu – A Short Story by Edith Wharton

 Late last night, I was scratching around for something quick to read before sleeping and I am so glad I stumbled across this marvellous short story, it was already tucked away in my Kindle library. It seems I bought myself a present sometime ago and it turned o


Reading Kalliope’s gorgeous, tempting review of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, coming accidently across this short story by her, like my daughter stealthily sticking her finger into a whipped cream topping, I hadn’t the patience to wait until I would find the time to embark on the novel – too

"Her mind was an hotel where facts came and went like transient lodgers, without leaving their address behind, and frequently without paying for their board."

This short story by Edith Wharton is priceless! I spent an entertaining morning alternately reading, drinking coffee, and discussing bits and

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