- Paperback: 108 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Reprint edition (July 4, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1453734805
- ISBN-13: 978-1453734803
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 129 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Summer Reprint Edition
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"Summer" by Edith Wharton was published in 1917. The novel details sexual discovery of the protagonist, Charity. The novel experienced a surge in popularity after the author's death, in the 1960s. Wharton's important work is now available in this new edition.
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Other reviewers have revealed most of the story, which is unfortunate because its plot twists are best appreciated by first-time readers unaware of where the story goes and how it is resolved. (The first time I read it, I actually gasped aloud at several points.) I'd rather say something about its language and tone.
Nobody writes sentences with the clarity and precision of Edith Wharton. There are passages in "Summer" to die for. Her descriptions of the New England countryside ripening into summer alongside her evocations of young Charity's blossoming sexuality are beautifully written. Maybe this juxtaposition is a little obvious or even corny but it totally worked for me. Wharton's prose has always had an almost sensuous rhythm to it and it's never been put to better use than in this story of sexual awakening and first love.
The radical shift of tone in "Summer" is also remarkable. (Spoiler ahead.) There is a slight sense of foreboding from the beginning but for the most part you feel drawn in to the sweet romance of this lonely and impressionable girl. Then - BOOM - reality sets in, and a heart-tugging idyll turns into a horror story. The scenes toward the end, especially the trip up and down the mountain, are nothing short of gothic horror. Wharton had a pretty jaded view of the options women faced, and "Summer" is consistent with the bleak vision she first articulated in "The House of Mirth."
"Summer" is beautiful, shocking, and very sad.
There are several editions of "Summer." Purchase the Penguin edition with the Intro by Elizabeth Ammons. It's only a few bucks more and will give you added perspective on the book and Wharton.
I liked this book more than I liked "Ethan Frome", "Twilight Sleep", or "The Reef". While "Summer" may not be in the same class as "House of Mirth" or "Age of Innocence", it is I think comparable to "Glimpses of the Moon".