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“Glennard had never thought himself a hero: But he had been certain that he was incapable of baseness.”
The story of a young man who scorns the love of a tortured novelist, only to have her words come back to haunt him from the dead, The Touchstone shows off the skills Wharton became famous for in novels such as Ethan Frome and House of Mirth, particularly her piercing and delicious talent for satiric observation. But despite its masterly control, this startlingly modern tale is also a simmering, rebel cri de coeur unleashed by a writer who was herself unappreciated in her own time. The combination of these attributes make this edgy novella a moving and suspenseful homage to the power of literature itself.