Twilight Sleep

By Edith Wharton

It’s really hard to jive this Edith Wharton with the Edith Wharton I love, but the family dynamics are spot-on. But if I’m suffering from this kind of disconnect between books like The House of Mirth and this one, I can only imagine what the adults who had to go from 1915 to 1925 must have felt like. What is hardest to understand, in a book that has modern activities and habits and conveniences, is the fear that one of their relatives will become a movie star and have her face on posters for everyone to look at. I can appreciate how even today a family member becoming a superstar can affect everyone’s life but this paranoia–the promulgation and public consumption of an image–is archaic. Maybe not. Maybe all the sisters and cousins of famous people are equally embarrassed and because I secretly want to know someone famous I envy rather than rightly fear such exposure.

What a lame review. Sorry–it’s a great book, with vivid characters and considerable suspense. It’s just that my brain is broken today.

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