A very large nod in the direction of Rachel at Book Snob, for had it not been for her very perceptive and enthusiastic post poor Louis Bromfield would certainly remain lost in the stacks. After an extended hiatus his Mrs. Parkington has been circulated once again and is now sitting at the top of my library book pile. I'm afraid I can't read them as fast as I'm checking them out, but this is one of my rescued books that I do need to read rather than add to my list of books that are mere possibilities (I have lots and lots of reading possibilities). As noted by Rachel, this is sadly out of print (though a look at Amazon reveals it was at one time translated into a few other languages), but a number of this Pulitzer Prize-winning author's other works are still in print.
My library has more than seventeen of his books, though I was totally unfamiliar with him until I read Rachel's post.
"This is an absolutely incredible, absorbing, and fascinating book, that, while set in the 40’s, feels wonderfully current, in all its descriptions of financial dodgy dealings and hedge fund fraud. The family dynamics detailed, the blend of different personalities, many of them infuriating, and the fantastic character of Susie Parkington, all come together to produce a story not of one family, but of a whole society, collapsing in on itself, as those who created it die off and leave offspring who are incapable of carrying the weight of its responsibilities on their shoulders."
As she compares him to a good Dorothy Whipple novel I went directly to my library catalog to see if we had the book and feel fortunate to find him on my library's shelves and could only think he must get back into circulation so he remains there. The story begins:
"Outside the snow was falling, thickly in great wet flakes, so that the sound of the traffic on Park Avenue coming through the drawn curtains was muted and distant. Mrs. Parkington, seated before the mirror with a half-pint of champagne by her side, thought how nice it was to have a Christmas this year which seemed like Christmas. True, tomorrow the snow would be turned to slush, discolored by soot, and those great machines bought by the personable and bumptious mayor would be scooping it up and hauling it off to the North River; but snow--the mere idea of snow--was pleasant. Just the sight of it drifting down in soft white flakes through the bright auras of the street lights made you feel happy and content. And summoned memories, very long memories, of the days when snow was not a nuisance in New York but brought out sleds and sleighs and there was racing in the park, and the sound of sleigh bells was heard everywhere in the city."
I came across another interesting book about Louis Bromfield when I was searching the library catalog--a book of letters between Bromfield and Edith Wharton, Yrs, Ever Affly edited by Daniel Bratton. He's becoming more and more intriguing. Apparently both lived in France at the same time. Wharton was in her seventies and he in his thirties. Both were quite popular authors and both had a love of gardening. Along with the thirty or so letters included in the book, there are illustrations as well. The color photos of Le Pavillon Colombe, Wharton's last residence, leave me quite envious.
Everywhere I turn lately I seem to be coming up against authors who love to garden. So, two more wonderful library finds.