Monday, 5 November 2018

Xingu by Edith Wharton #FreeBook

Xingu by Edith Wharton
First published in America in 1916.

X for my 2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge, my 1910s read for my 2018-19 Decade Challenge, and my 10th read for my Classics Club Challenge.

How I got this book:
Free download available at Project Gutenberg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A group of rather pompous ladies are excited by the forthcoming visit of novelist Osric Dane to one of their cultural Lunch Club meetings. However when Dane proves to be more formidable than any of the Lunch Club members, they allow themselves to be rescued by newest member Mrs Roby, a lady at whom everyone has formerly sneered.

I chose to read Xingu for three reasons: I needed an X for my A-Z Challenge, I had never read Wharton before and felt that I should, and the ebook was free! This is a short work at about thirty pages so, even with brief pauses to look up obscure words (Wharton's vocabulary was far superior to mine!), I read Xingu in about an hour. It's a brilliant portrayal of snobbery and social etiquette. As someone who isn't much for joining in clubs and societies, I was wickedly reminded of the one-upmanship I have witnessed on occasional visits to similar gatherings myself, and I loved the cattiness of the Lunch Club women. I would be interested to know just how close to real life Xingu is because I am sure Wharton would have known women just like these. There are wonderful phrases and descriptions throughout the story. I'm not usually one for quoting from stories, but to give you a flavour of Wharton's superb turns of phrase, this is describing the meeting's hostess, Mrs Ballinger:
Her mind was an hotel where facts came and went like transient lodgers, without leaving their address behind, and frequently without paying for their board.

Etsy Find!
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  1. It's not my kind of book but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Lol I love that quote! I'm definitely interested in picking this up! It helps that it's not super long and is free :) It just sounds so hilarious and needly. Lovely review, Stephanie!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. It's great! A concise portrait, but so true to life and with a wickedly funny conclusion!

  3. I've read two books by Wharton, and I really enjoyed Ethan Frome. I hadn't heard of this one! Glad it was a good read.


    1. This first Wharton for me was so good that I definitely want to read more :-)