Friday, April 5, 2013

Roman Fever - Edith Wharton

Emily, over on Evening All Afternoon (who hasn't posted in ages...and whose posts I miss terribly) wrote about Roman Fever, and I was especially intrigued by her mention of Wharton's treatment of the cultural baggage surrounding marriage. I'm not generally disappointed by the books recommended over there, even though they're way outside my usual comfort zone, and this one did not disappoint.

The setting for these stories is early 20th century upper class American society - although they are not necessarily set in the United States, but often concern Americans living abroad. This was particularly fascinating to me as I've been reading quite a lot of Georgette Heyer's regency romances lately, and the society of Roman Fever is a lot closer to that of Regency England than to modern day. Women do have more freedom, and there is a lot more travel, but society imposes its restrictions far more than nowadays.

I really enjoyed all the stories, although the title story was definitely my favorite. I can't say much about it without ruining it though. I found all the stories fairly quick and easy to read. Many of them were downright hilarious - especially Xingu which is about a book club and how people deal with trying to avoid looking stupid. Several of them were fairly sad, but on the whole they left me feeling hopeful.

This is definitely going on my list of books to re-read.

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