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Glimpses of the Moon [Paperback]

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Item description for Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton...

"A luscious, worldly, sensuous read, surely the equal of its most obvious offspring-Tender is the Night."-Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Nick and Susy are socially prominent but impoverished New Yorkers. They are in love and decide to marry but realize their chances of happiness are slim without the wealth and society that their more privileged friends take for granted. Nick and Susy agree to separate when either encounters a more eligible proposition. However, during their lavish honeymoon, jealous passions and troubled consciences cause the idyll to crumble. Glimpses of the Moon is one of Edith Wharton's least-known novels but is as compelling as her other works, including The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   328
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 4.75" Height: 6.5"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2005
Publisher   Pushkin Press
ISBN  1901285561  
ISBN13  9781901285567  

Availability  0 units.

More About Edith Wharton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! The upper stratum of New York society into which Edith Wharton was born in 1862 provided her with an abundance of material as a novelist but did not encourage her growth as an artist. Educated by tutors and governesses, she was raised for only one career: marriage. But her marriage, in 1885, to Edward Wharton was an emotional disappointment, if not a disaster. She suffered the first of a series of nervous breakdowns in 1894. In spite of the strain of her marriage, or perhaps because of it, she began to write fiction and published her first story in 1889.
Her first published book was a guide to interior decorating, but this was followed by several novels and story collections. They were written while the Whartons lived in Newport and New York, traveled in Europe, and built their grand home, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. In Europe, she met Henry James, who became her good friend, traveling companion, and the sternest but most careful critic of her fiction. The House of Mirth (1905) was both a resounding critical success and a bestseller, as was Ethan Frome (1911). In 1913 the Whartons were divorced, and Edith took up permanent residence in France. Her subject, however, remained America, especially the moneyed New York of her youth. Her great satiric novel, The Custom of the Country was published in 1913 and The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.
In her later years, she enjoyed the admiration of a new generation of writers, including Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In all, she wrote some thirty books, including an autobiography. A Backwards Glance (1934). She died at her villa near Paris in 1937.

Edith Wharton was born in 1862 and died in 1937.

Edith Wharton has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bantam Classics
  2. Barnes & Noble Classics
  3. Dover Thrift Editions
  4. Enriched Classics (Pocket)
  5. Library of America
  6. Modern Library (Paperback)
  7. Penguin Classics
  8. Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century
  9. Signet Classics
  10. Wordsworth Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( W ) > Wharton, Edith
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Essays > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > Wharton, Edith

Reviews - What do customers think about Glimpses of the Moon?

Young schemers in love  Dec 19, 2007
Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer in 1921, for her social romantic tragedy "Age of Innocence." What to do after a triumph like that?

Well, in Wharton's case, she went the opposite direction, with a gentle romance called "The Glimpses of the Moon." It's the cliched love-or-money storyline that's existed as long as love and money, but Wharton elevates it with some social satire and lushly sensual writing.

Nick Lansing and Susy Branch are young, attractive, clever, arty, and poor -- they are confidantes of the wealthy, but can't live like them. So Susy comes up with a scheme: they'll get married, and live for a year off the honeymoon gifts and guest houses -- and if either of them gets a better offer, they'll divorce immediately with no hard feelings.

All goes smoothly for the idyllic first months. But when staying in Venice, Nick finds that they are staying at a villa because Susy is helping the house's mistress meet up with her boytoy -- and that Susy's acid-tongued pal has just inherited a fortune. But despite their pact, Susy finds it increasingly difficult to imagine a life without Nick -- especially when he seems to be involved with a clever young archaeologist's daughter.

The story of "Glimpses of the Moon" is not the selling point of this onetime bestseller -- you can pretty much guess how it will turn out, and how many days the pact between Nick and Susy will last. In fact, it's kind of astonishing that Hollywood hasn't nabbed this one rather than the tragic "Ethan Frome" or the bittersweet "Age of Innocence."

But the beauty of "Glimpses of the Moon" is how it's presented -- Wharton's prose relaxes into a sensual feast of decayed villas, bright sunlight, rich colours and luxurious details. It slacks off as Nick and Susy's relationship deteriorates, but the first half is awash in beautiful imagery ("... a great white moth like a drifting magnolia petal"). And of course, we always have the overhanging symbolism of the moon.

And it wouldn't be a Wharton book without some social commentary -- in this case, about the idle wealthy eagerly snatching onto any trendy artist, illicit lover or amusement that will fill their empty days. And of course, the lesson that love should trump greed.

Wharton's knack for characterization doesn't hurt either -- Nick is a penniless artist hoping to keep this pact-marriage together, and Susy a social wit without many scruples, until she inadvertantly drives Nick away. The supporting characters could have a book devoted to each one as well -- the acid-tongued peer, a rather snotty young girl, and a desperate wealthy matron bouncing from one "toyboy" relationship to another.

"Glimpses of the Moon" is a simple boy-and-girl story, but with a clever social twist questioning what happens AFTER happily-ever-after. Romantic, sensual and sometimes tartly amusing.
"Doesn't our being together depend on what we get out of people?"  May 14, 2006
Set in the aftermath of World War I, this study of 1920s society, with its elements of social comedy and satire, follows Nick Lansing and his wife Susy, through the highest levels of European society. Though they have the credentials to be accepted, they are financially limited, always unsure where their next funds will come from. Nick and Susy have married for love, with the understanding that if either of them finds a more financially stable suitor with a long-term future, that each is free to dissolve the marriage. They spend their honeymoon year living in the empty European homes of their more affluent friends.

When they stay in the palazzo of Ellie Vanderlyn in Venice, early in the novel, Susy receives a note from Ellie asking her to mail four letters, one each week, to Ellie's absent husband Nelson, so that he will not know she is away. Confronted with this thorny problem, which she has been sworn not to reveal to Nick, Ellie agrees, knowing no way around the problem, since she and Nick depend on Ellie's hospitality.

It reveals no plot surprises to say that Susy's deception eventually undermines her superficial but loving relationship with Nick. Wounded by Susy's lack of trust and her deceit, Nick needs to get away. The separate comings-of-age of Nick and Susy occupy the bulk of the novel as each, still sharing the extravagant lifestyles of their friends, considers whether to honor the agreement to let the other person go if someone "better" comes along.

Wharton presents their dilemmas clearly--their desire to experience the "good life," their belief that they deserve to do so, the lengths they are willing to go to make it possible, the conflicts they face between their latent ethical sense and the realities of their lives, the belated discovery that each has the potential to support himself/herself, and the growing awareness that life offers many rewards that are not financial.

Filled with trenchant observations about society and the frivolous behavior of those committed to remaining part of it, Wharton's novel draws attention to the conflict between real feelings and pretensions and between real goals and social expectations, presaging the novels of Fitzgerald. A sophisticated and elegantly written study of aristocratic society in the twenties in Europe, this is not Wharton's most thoughtful novel, but it one of her best observed. Mary Whipple

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