By Edith Wharton
Encouraged by way of a tender guy Edith Wharton met in the course of her war relief paintings in France, A Son on the Front(1923) opens in Paris on July 30, 1914, as Europe totters on the point of conflict.
Expatriate American painter John Campton, whose simply son George, having been born in Paris, needs to file for accountability within the French army, struggles to maintain his son clear of front while grappling with the ethical implications of his actions. A poignant meditation on paintings and ownership, fidelity and responsibility, A Son on the Front is Wharton’s indelible tackle the struggle novel.
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The beat oozed from open car window to car window, each bearing a tray the waitress tilts and locks. Then a hand slides out dropping change as she twirls, who’s also dead, her flying ponytail electric, and just then the pink Cadillac, and the black faces as glass smoothes slowly down, smoke hazing inside. That’s all it takes. I can hear knuckles crack, the words like flecks of spit in summer air, like looping bats visible in high moth-swirls of light. But nothing happened the way everybody thinks.
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Boathouse ivy hung in your hair, roping us close, as I settled with you, love, in wet grass, slick and cold like the top of the Hatteras yacht where, trespassers in stars once, we had been diving, then making love, and then came night crawl of lights with friends, that house party, a marsh by Back River, traffic along Victory Boulevard. Voices on the patio doubted our future forty years ago, near the Air Force base. Now-dead, their babies unborn, or asleep, married, joking. Steaks sizzled on the cooker, sweat on beer cans.