We have the story of Imogen Greshman, a youngish wife of an older husband. She’s in her mid30s and he’s in his early 50s, they have kids, and recently, he’s been more busy at work than usual, and she starts to notice a kind of wandering eye. What’s inexplicable to Imogen is that he seems to be homing in on Blanche Silcox, a little more patrician and country, and more confounding to Imogen, around his age. Imogen is the hare to Blanche’s tortoise, and like the hare in the fable (at least the cartoon versions) is completely out of sorts over how to stop what feels like the death of her marriage. It’s a strightshooting kind of novel, neither satiric nor melodramatic.
The writing is generally very good, but you have to look at this one sentence: “That summer of two years before was the beginning of the new era in their lives that succeeded the war.”
The description of this book on the Virago edition is so bizarre in the way it centers Evelyn Gresham in this novel. He’s the object at the center, and he’s a presence, but this novel is so clearly the story of Imogen Gresham completely confounded at her husband slowly, but surely deciding to leave her. He’s NOT not in this novel, but it’s her book. The original copy that I got from my local library from 1954 is more square about this, and the novel opens with Imogen, so the text centers her story as well.