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The Glimpses Of The Moon by Edith Wharton

The Glimpses Of The Moon (1922)

by Edith Wharton

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It’s only a paper moon
Hanging over a cardboard sea,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.
It’s a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.


Say you don’t need no diamond rings
And I’ll be satisfied,
Tell me that you want the kind of things
That money just can’t buy.
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.

This is the story of Suzy and Nick Lansing, two newly-weds who hang with the rich and famous, but have no money of their own. Their attempts to live in this world of pseudo-friendship and obligation takes its toll on them and their marriage, and the line that separates morality from indebtedness wears them thin.

I spent much of this novel thinking of Scarlett and Rhett, when they are both thinking they would like to make it up to one another but neither is willing to make the first move. I anguished over the pride and misunderstanding that seems to push these characters apart at every turn, and the influences of the so-called friends who are too shallow or self-interested to consider what they might be doing to a marriage of love.

She felt as though she were on the point of losing some new-found treasure, a treasure precious only to herself, but beside which all he offered her was nothing, the triumph of her wounded pride nothing, the security of her future nothing.

And, what we see here, among the fakes and pretenders, is real love. The kind a smart person would perish for; a meeting of the souls and the minds.

It was odd-once upon a time she had known exactly what to say to the man of the moment, whoever he was, and whatever kind of talk he required...But since then she had spoken the language of real love, looked with its eyes, embraced with its hands; and now the other trumpery art had failed her, and she was conscious of bungling and groping like a beginner…

I adored this lesser known but brilliant story by one of my favorite authors, Edith Wharton. Wharton is always able to cut to the essence of what ails the monied society, but she also knows what it is to be on the fringe of it and to want desperately to be included. All that glitters is not gold, but when you are standing at a certain distance, it might seem to be.

This is a short book, more a novelette than a novel, so there is no excuse--Read It! ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
This is one of Wharton's later novels. It's been compared with the House of Mirth, but I did not see the resemblance - particularly since this book has a happy ending.

Susy and Nick Lansing are newlyweds. They have fallen in love against their better judgement, since neither has the means to make a living and they both love society life. They decide to get married figuring they an live at least a year off their wedding gifts and the kindness of their wealthy friends who are more than willing to loan them lovely villas in Italy or pick up the check at dinner. Both agree to an open marriage where they will divorce if a better marital prospect enters the scene.

All is fiine until Nick gets scruples in Venice when her realizes that he's been given an expensive gift for being complicit in a friend's extra-marital affair. He and Susy have words and he storms off. This, of course, is rather hypocritical of him since he storms right onto a yacht of some nouveau riche friends. Susy, meanwhile, is busy landing an English friend who has found himself inheriting a dukedom, thanks to a fortunate death in his family. Both flit around the upper (but not quite since they seem to be spending way too much time at places like the Nouveau Luxe) reaches of society. But neither one is truly happy. Could it be that Nick & Susy love each other for real?

Wharton, as usual paints a vivid picture of high society. However, without tragedy, her writing seems to lack some of her usual acerbic punch. ( )
  etxgardener | Jun 6, 2017 |
Edith Wharton is known for her frank portrayal of New York society, often exposing their pettiness and hypocrisy. The Glimpses of the Moon is no exception. Nick and Susy are recently married, and while they care for one another it is primarily a marriage of convenience. Neither come from wealth, but both have recognized they could probably live for a year or more off of the wedding checks and invitations from their wealthy social circle. The novel opens during their honeymoon at an Italian villa belonging to a friend; after a few weeks they move on to another friend's property in Venice. Susy quickly finds that some of her arrangements come with a cost -- like looking after a child -- and one matter in particular comes between she and Nick. The rest of their story plays out as a classic case of two people who are completely unable to communicate openly with one another, and along the way they learn some valuable truths about the real value of material possessions. ( )
  lauralkeet | Mar 26, 2017 |
Nick Lansing and Susy Branch agree to marry for a year and live entirely in the money of others. They also agree that when and if one of them gets a better opportunity, the marriage contract is void. However, they find as time passes that financial arrangements are easier to manage than human emotions such as love, trust and jealousy. A beautifully written book about the nature of romantic love and the meaning of modern marriage set in 1920s Europe. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Published in 1922, this was Wharton's last completed novel. It is also my fifth Wharton - I've previously read The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country and Summer.

There is something about Wharton that pierces me to my very soul. Glimpses of the Moon was no exception to that effect. No one wrote arid wealth and the oppressive customs of society better than Wharton - she explores the impact of narrow convention on characters at the same time that she ignored those conventions in her real life.

In some ways, this is the culmination of the stories that she has been telling her readers. Nick and Susy Lansing, young, beautiful and impoverished, marry against all good sense, with every intention of abandoning each other when someone new offers them a life of ease and fortune. We see each of them, for the first time, take on jobs as a gesture in the direction of self-sufficiency. If Lily Bart had been as intrepid as Susy Lansing, she might have had a happy ending. What a difference a couple of decades can make.

I read that Glimpses influenced Fitzgerald's [b:The Great Gatsby|4671|The Great Gatsby|F. Scott Fitzgerald|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1438728255s/4671.jpg|245494], and I can understand the connection between these two books, but I am personally no fan of Fitzgerald's brittle characterizations. Not widely considered one of Wharton's finest efforts, I enjoyed it immensely.

And someone needs to adapt this for the small screen yesterday. It would be beyond gorgeous. ( )
  moonlight_reads | Dec 11, 2016 |
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It rose for them -- their honeymoon -- over the waters of a lake so famed as the scence of romantic raptures that they were rather proud of not having been afraid to choose it as the setting of their own.
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Book description
Susy Branch learned early that to thrive without money in a society driven by wealth one must dissemble, flatter and sometimes even drop one's moral guard in order to share a little of one's host's luxury and leisure. Nick Lansing has also learned and wearied of the same lesson. Despite the foolishness of their romance - for each should be seeking a partner of means - they decide to marry. By combining their skills they should be able to enjoy a year's invitations and happiness before they need to face reality. But love makes its own exacting demands and its costs can also be high...The Glimpses of the Moon, first published in 1922 and one of the most popular romantic novels of its time, is a witty and entertaining examination fo the moral deficiencies of the creed of materialism.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684826194, Paperback)

Set in the 1920s, The Glimpses of the Moon details the romantic misadventures of Nick Lansing and Susy Branch, a couple with the right connections but not much in the way of funds. They devise a shrewd bargain: they'll marry and spend a year or so sponging off their wealthy friends, honeymooning in their mansions and villas. As Susy explains, "We should really, in a way, help more than hamper each other. We both know the ropes so well; what one of us didn't see the other might -- in the way of opportunities, I mean." The other part of the plan states that if either one of them meets someone who can advance them socially, they're each free to dissolve the marriage. How their plan unfolds is a comedy of eros that will charm all fans of Wharton's work.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

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Edith Wharton's classic novel about a pair of poor lovers in New York driven apart by the need to marry elsewhere to obtain wealth has enchanted readers around the world for more than eighty years.

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