Edith Wharton returns: spirited, brilliant, alive.
In this highly entertaining novel, Edith Wharton is variously reimagined: as a host in the afterlife, a historical figure in a modern novella, and as an elusive presence in the pages of her own writing. But when a lifelong secret is exposed, it’s almost too shocking to be true.
Hugely acclaimed during her lifetime, writer Edith Wharton is back — with the most extraordinary opportunity. Summoned to a room in the afterlife, Edith finds the manuscript of a new novella inspired by her life. A letter from her one-time editor advises Edith to consider carefully whether to destroy the work or allow its publication. Is this a chance to correct her image of haughtiness and privilege, and to reignite interest in her writing?
Edith begins reading the novella to her astonished companions; and what unfolds is a cautionary story of online fame. But as she gradually remembers the details of her life, Edith becomes fearful about what the work might reveal and is haunted by the words:
The letters survive, and everything survives.
‘Philippa Swan’s is an original voice that is articulate, humorous and disarmingly refreshing.’ - NZ Books
“Philippa Swan’s erudite homage takes a page from Wharton’s unheralded ghost stories: the author is resurrected in an anteroom to the afterlife, and given a novella about a woman who works at the Wharton museum in Massachusetts. Edith must decide whether to publish or burn the work, revisiting her own writing in the process. It may have the trappings of a ghost story, but the most appealing element of Swan’s novel is its submerged literary appreciation of Wharton’s oeuvre, delivered in tandem with lively elements of biography, and shades of the wit and style for which Wharton was renowned.”
Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald