'Can't you see that I don't care what anybody says?'
Charity Royall lives in the small New England village of North Dormer. Born among outcasts from the Mountain beyond, she is rescued by lawyer Royall and lives with him as his ward. Never allowed to forget her disreputable origins Charity despises North Dormer and rebels against the stifling dullness of the tight-knit community surrounding her. Her boring job in the local library is interrupted one day by the arrival of a young visiting architect, Lucius Harney, whose good looks and sophistication arouse her passionate nature. As their relationship grows, so too does Charity's conflict with her guardian; darker undercurrents start to come to the surface.
Summer is often compared to Wharton's other New England story, Ethan Frome, and it shares the same intensity of feeling and repression. Wharton regarded it as one of her best works, and its compelling story of burgeoning sexuality and illicit desire has a strikingly modern and troubling ambiguity.
About the Series:
For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
The ending is harsh, indeed shocking on account of a theme of incest which haunts the narrative, yet the psychology of the novel is far ahead of its time, beautifully expressed, and still instructive as to the fate of women in societies where they have no agency or power. Wharton fans will not be disappointed. * Oxford Today, Richard Lofthouse *
So, there's lots here to ponder, and lots to enjoy. This edition has an excellent and informative introduction by Laura Rattray, plus all the textual and explanatory notes, chronologies, and bibliographies any curious person could possibly want. But if you don't care for all those extras, just read the novel. You'll love it. * Harriet Devine, Shiny New Books *