My rating: 5/5 stars
A new Englander of humble origins, Charity Royall is swept into a torrid love affair with an artistically inclined young man from New York City, but her dreams of a future with him are thwarted.
I started reading Summer at the end of October so I could squeeze one last regular classic in before Novellas in November kicked off. I knew nothing about it except it was free on my Kobo. I quickly found out it was a novella. Score! Oh and it’s supposedly an erotic novella. Double score. And yeah, it was pretty hot! I mean, check out this filth:
All this bubbling of sap and slipping of sheaths and bursting of calyxes was carried to her on mingled currents of fragrance.
Bubbling sap indeed. And this:
A clumsy band and button fastened her unbleached night-gown about the throat. She undid it, freed her thin shoulders, and saw herself a bride in low-necked satin, walking down an aisle with Lucius Harney. He would kiss her as they left the church….She put down the candle and covered her face with her hands as if to imprison the kiss.
This book is part Tess of the D’Ubervilles, part VC Andrews’ Heaven and all kinds of awesome. Tess because of the pastoral and natural elements, and the fallen woman thing, and Heaven because our heroine comes from dirt poor, likely inbred mountain folk and you know what they say, you can take the girl off the mountain…
Charity is such an interesting heroine because she’s selfish, flighty, and well, not that bright. Or at least not at all interested in intellectual pursuits. A realistic teenager, in other words. I’m always surprised by a non-bookish hero, and think that it must be difficult for a writer to get into that head space. Wharton nails it. This book was a delight and my I think it just knocked House of Mirth out of my “favourite Wharton” spot.
Thanks to Another Book Blog for hosting this event – go read the intro post!
This isn’t one of those events with a million rules (thank god) but I think I will hold myself accountable by doing a weekly post on Sunday night(ish) recapping what I’ve read.
As the title suggests, the idea is to read lots of novellas. Naturally, my first thought was “what’s the criteria for a novella?” and the answer is, there is no answer. Some people say under 50,000 words. Some say less than 40,000. It’s not that easy to find word counts, so I’m going with page numbers and calling it 150ish.
On to the books! I have a few more on my Goodreads list, but here are the novellas I’m most excited about.
The Pearl by John Steinbeck (90 pages)
I read The Pearl in 8th grade English. I wasn’t that taken with it, and didn’t read Steinbeck again until I was in my late 20s. I need to revisit this book with adult eyes.
The Suicide Shop by Jane Teule (169 pages)
The premise, which is exactly what it sounds like, appeals to the former goth teen in me. A bargain at $2.95 on Kobo.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (96 pages)
Man Booker shortlisted, lots of buzz. Not shelling out $25 for the hardcover though. Library it is.
Bonjour Tristesse by Francois Sagan (154 pages)
“Bonjour Tristesse scandalised 1950’s France with its portrayal of teenager Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and family to choose her own sexual freedom.” You had me at scandalised.
Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (115 pages)
Do I really need a reason? The title and the author aren’t enough?
I’ll be chatting novellas at #NovNov on twitter. Join in and feel free to suggest other novellas that are must-read!