Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Novel Glamour: The Reef by Edith Wharton


The Reef is an enjoyably frustrating novel about the love between Anna and Darrow. They spend years interpreting each other's meaningful looks and then stewing about it on trips between London and the French countryside.

It was published in 1912, a long, long time ago, when things were allegedly different. Anna and Darrow communicate by letter, writing constantly. Mail is delivered several times each day. Not quite as quick as texting, but it really wasn't far from e-mail. Fashion trends have allegedly changed over the past century as well. And yet.

Anna gently, but jealously questions Darrow about another woman he was spotted with at the theater. Darrow asks exactly what she heard and Anna replies:

"Oh not much, except that she was awfully pretty... he hadn't actually seen her; but he saw the tail of her cloak, and somehow knew from that that she was pretty. One does, you know... I think he said the cloak was pink."

Darrow broke into a laugh.

"Of course it was-- they always are!"

Pink seems to come through fashion and pop culture in stronger waves then other colors, doesn't it? It's like every 15 years or so, Kay Thompson swings in and announces, "I want this whole country pink!" The big wave of pink we've been in for the past few years is finally winding down. Mostly.