Originally published in 1934, A Backward Glance is a memoir written by Wharton in her last years. The book dwells on Wharton's early and middle life leading up to and including her experiences during the First World War. The final chapter covers her life after the war, close on twenty years, emphasising a Mediterranean cruise and the unexpected death of her friend Geoffrey Scott.
This is most certainly a writer's memoir rather than an autobiographical narrative. The writing itself is poised and mature; Wharton here reads like a confident artisan, at ease with her profession and happy to reel off her thought and remembrances. The reason it isn't an autobiography in the strictest sense is that Wharton leaves so much of her life out of the book, some of it for obvious reasons – such as the Morton Fullerton affair – and others maybe because she just can't be bothered. That aside, it's a joy to read.
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