Finished reading that Edith Wharton collection, NEW YORK STORIES, last night. Excellent choice. One of the best collections I’ve ever read. The stories had her typical psychological intuition, but they also stood out for their shocking setpiece. There’s a streak of melodrama that runs through Edith Wharton that this collection taught me how to appreciate. I know that for the first few stories I was up in the air about it, but by the middle of the collection, you can see her plotting come further under her control, and I grew to love and appreciate the melodrama.
For instance, one of my favorite stories in the collection features a man who pretends to be his wife and engages in a long correspondence with an opera singer (essentially catfishing him) because the man gains a very understandable psychological satisfaction from being the subject of such warm admiration from such an eminent figure.