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A Backward Glance Paperback – August 7, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1174565519 ISBN-10: 1174565519

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Nabu Press (August 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1174565519
  • ISBN-13: 978-1174565519
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,217,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By But Seriously on March 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Both as a reader and as a student of design and decoration, I turned to this book to discover Wharton on her own terms. The early years tend to the quaint reminiscences and family history that don't much surprise. Her story becomes more compelling as the 19th century ends and the mature woman emerges.

There's plenty to entertain, though. I found her stories of early "motoring" in the Berkshires of Massachusetts illuminating and fun - for instance her observation that the automobile opened up an entirely new range (both in terms of miles traveled and sights seen) of day trip, and the excitement that provided.

I was interested to read how the ten years creating and living at The Mount, her famous house near Lenox MA received rather short, if affectionate, mention in the text. I've always taken her book with Ogden Codman, The Decoration of Houses, to be a defining work not just for decorators and the history of American interior design, but for her as well. Now I sense better how much of that book is Codman put into her words. Still, later in the book she frequently recalls those days, especially the motoring, and the trips they took through the country and into the mountains provide much of the rich background in novels like Summer and Ethan Frome - works she herself rates highly.

It may be that the European setting of much of the 20th century years makes the book take off at that point, but it's also the work she does in that era, and, necessarily, the people that fame brings into her life. Her friendship with Henry James is paramount among these, and the poignancy with which she writes about his last years (during WWI) and her regretted neglect of him at the end (she was in Paris, while he was in England) is moving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CreativeWriter on November 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Other reviews have mentioned that Wharton wrote this memoir without passion, and I have to agree. She must have felt that she could not go into detail about her ex husband's troubling disability, nor does she detail her subsequent love affair. But I suppose she was a creature of her time, and I forgive her for that. As a big fan of her writing, I had hoped to learn more of what motivated her and her opinions of her world. Very little, if any, of this kind of heartfelt confession is in this book. But if you are looking for any kind of detail about her homes or writer friends, it is here.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pit on August 4, 2014
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Marvelous
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