2008: 14. Roman Fever and Other Stories

“From the table at which they had been lunching two American ladies of ripe but well-cared-for middle age moved across the lofty terrace of the Roman restaurant, and leaning on its parapet, looked first at each other, and then down on the outspread glories of the Palantine and the Forum, with the same expression of vague but benevolent approval.”

Roman Fever and Other Stories, Edith Wharton

Another collection of Wharton short stories, and like Old New York, they concern themselves with scandalous topics that expose the hypocrisy of the “best people” while still making the people involved seem like real people, not just figures of fun.  The title story concerns two middle-aged women in Rome, reminiscing about their youth there, and comparing their lives to their children’s.  It starts with fond memories, descends into cattiness, and ends on twist showing just how vicious these middle aged gentlewomen can be.  “Xingu” pokes fun at a small town’s literary set trying to impress a local authoress, and how the one member who is thought to be not intellectual enough for the group is the one who shows them all up. “The Last Asset” is the story of a social climbing woman who has left her husband behind, but needs him to come to their daughter’s wedding to satisfy her fiance’s elite parents.  And, so forth.  The stories are satisfying, entertaining, well-written and quite worth your time.

Date/Place Completed: 2/10/08. D.C.

Categories: Fiction, Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017