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A Son at the Front

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Wharton's antiwar masterpiece, now once again available, probes the devastation of World War I on the home front. Interweaving her own experiences of the Great War with themes of parental and filial love, art and self-sacrifice, national loyalties and class privilege, Wharton tells an intimate and captivating story of war behind the lines.
Paperback, 239 pages
Published 1995 by Northern Illinois University Press (first published 1923)
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Laura
Jul 27, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
Edith Wharton’s pet subjects — failed marriages, social minefields, and stymied dreams — play out against the backdrop of the Great War. As always, Wharton’s prose beautifully combines criticism with compassion, lyricism with clarity, and subtlety with wrenching drama. I found myself re-reading passages and just sighing.

The set up for this novel hooked me before I even read it: In the summer of 1914, a divorced expatriate father living in Paris is anticipating a month’s travel with his son, Geo
...more
El
Oct 25, 2010 El rated it really liked it
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(Courtesy: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Way back in forgotten times, when the world was still all black and white, Edith Wharton lived in Paris. She was in Paris during World War I and through some connections was actually one of the few foreigners to be able to be on the front lines for her work as a war correspondent for Scribner's Magazine. In addition to her correspondent work she also did oodles for refugees of the war, found
...more
Tony
Apr 13, 2016 Tony rated it liked it
A SON AT THE FRONT. (1923). Edith Wharton. ***.
This was Wharton’s effort at writing a war novel, though it came out after the war was over. The title tells all: it is about a couple who have a son at the front during WW I. The situation was that the son, named George Campton, was visiting his divorced parents in Paris. His mother had remarried and was now the wife of a wealthy banker. His father was a portrait artist that had just now hit his stride and was the one all of society was trying to g
...more
Rachael Moss
Sep 15, 2015 Rachael Moss rated it liked it
Not my favorite Wharton; nonetheless powerful.
Christopher Sutch
Jul 04, 2012 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
A fine novel, under appreciated for too many years (even now, almost twenty years after its republication). Wharton writes about the part of World War I she knew the best, the life at the rear of the conflict, in Paris, including the charity work, the many, many people who continually receive news that their sons have died in the conflict, and artistic and social life. The editor of this edition, in her introduction, says that in this novel Wharton lays out her idea of the role of intellectuals ...more
Jayne
Dec 05, 2015 Jayne rated it it was ok
the first Edith Wharton novel with a character that I disliked so much it colored my judgement of the entire novel, John Campton, in my opinion, is a self-centered and disagreeable character. If Wharton intended this kind of reaction, I would consider the novel a success .. If not, I will just retreat to 'Ethan Frome'...and delight in the obvious.
Peter
Jun 22, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
I love Edith Wharton. There are not enough stars to reflect what a beautiful book this is. I wish I could have experienced the gift of being in a conversation with Edith Wharton. She is, in my view, right there with Dickens, Garcia Marquez, and, yes, Steinbeck. I love them all, and am so grateful they took the time to write. The world, certainly my life, is better place for their work.
Michele
It takes a while to get into the story since the writing style is very different than that of modern writers. But I am a fan of Edith Wharton and she does a good job of depicting Europe, World War I and the friends and family on the home front.
Duane
Edith Wharton lived in Paris during World War I, and with her incredible talent she paints a picture of the city and the people, and how they adapted to the the changes the war imposed on everyone and everything. One young man goes off to war and his parents pride for his bravery and horrible fear that he may not return is a scene played out countless times with families everywhere. Wharton was a correspondent and a homefront volunteer and her insights and descriptions give the reader a feel for ...more
Gina Dalfonzo
Jul 26, 2014 Gina Dalfonzo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review forthcoming.
Denise Mcmahon
Aug 07, 2014 Denise Mcmahon rated it really liked it
Very powerful book..
Donald
Oct 11, 2011 Donald rated it liked it
This did not quite have the punch that I was hoping for. Fully cognizant that almost every man in France between the ages of 18 and 40 died in World War I, I was prepared for a sad outcome. While well written, it seemed like the characters were kept at a distance. You never really get to know them or care about them. It did not even provoke a tear at the end, a requisite for me to give four or five stars.
Resa
Feb 16, 2011 Resa rated it it was amazing
Very rarely do I come along such a beautiful novel. I loved the author's style. She was very clear and it flowed well.
This novel is about a father's priorities for his son, but once he enters WW11, those priorities explode and the father is devastated. The father is very pessimistic and anti-war and his attitude reminds me of the current feelings concern the Iraqi war.

I am in love with this one :)
Angelina
I liked her characters (for the most part) and her plot, but something about her writing just does not grip me. I've been coming back to this book off and on for over a year, and I've finally managed to plow through it.

Still, I'd take this over "House of Mirth" ANY DAY.
Cecilia
Jun 19, 2015 Cecilia rated it liked it
Very dry read, but overall an okay read.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a ...more
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