Paperback: The New York Stories, by Edith Wharton

NYRB £10.99
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Spanning 40 years (1891-1934), these 20 tales of low passions in high society show off Wharton at her forensic and acerbic best.

Divorce, adultery, bankruptcy: the misdeeds that undermine gentility in the brownstones of the Manhattan rich alter, but the fear and fragility behind all the charm do not. To rebels, bolters or swindlers, these plush parlours may be prisons; but, after expulsion, they glow "with the glamor of sword-barred Edens".