What to read while double-casted (22 days to go, b.t.w.)? Try Black Oxen, by Gertrude Atherton, a 1923 novel set in the New York of its day, full of Edith Wharton-style depiction of High Society and also of the day’s “Sophisticates,” namely the newspaper-literary set that has been so long attracted to the big city.
I got Black Oxen — the name is from a line from Yeats about time as inexorable — as a gift through www.abebooks.com, which I recommend as a place to find the hard to find, out of print, etc. at low, low prices. Atherton as reminder of Edith Wharton fails, however, when we consider this as her only book about New York. She was a Californian, in fact, and has another novel, of many, called The Californians.
Wharton’s A Backward Glance, her memoirs, nonetheless beckoned when I’d done with Black Oxen, which was demanding as to extended conversations but rewarding as per characterizations and plot suspense. Those conversations contributed a lot to the suspense.
I also renewed acquaintance with The New Criterion, a 10 times a year highly literate exercise in social, etc. criticism. More later on this, as on other materials for the shut-in. . . . .