I am so glad I did. I read Xingu by Edith Wharton last week, and I remembered all the reasons I love classic literature. Wharton writes with a complete mastery of storytelling that seems to be missing in much of today’s literature. (Please don’t get me wrong. There are many extremely well-written and profound books published today. But I think we can all agree that there are many – too many – that are not that well-written and are far from profound.) Xingu is a short story, by the way, and the copy that I had also included seven other short stories by Wharton. Each one was an example in and of itself of the crafting of a story. Some of them were creepy – I did not know that Wharton wrote ghost stories. But each story gave so much credit to the reader. “Coming Home,” for example, left more unsaid than said at the end of the story, but I had no trouble figuring out what Wharton meant. I was just repeatedly awed by the way that Wharton could give the reader information without ever saying it outright. It really takes a talented writer to be able to accomplish what she did with each of these short stories.
I know I’ve told you pretty much nothing about the plot of any of these stories, but I don’t want to give anything away. Each story needs to be discovered for itself. And I highly encourage you to discover the short stories of Edith Wharton. They are well worth the search (and it may be a bit difficult – I had to request Xingu from my library’s storage). It’s refreshing and rejuvenating to read the works of someone who has mastered the art of storytelling.