The Spoils of Poynton- Henry James
Published in 1897, The Spoils of Poynton is one of the quintessential works of James’s middle period. The ‘spoils’ of the book’s title refer to furniture and other objets d’art that the widow Adela Gereth moves to her cottage so that they are kept away from the clutches of her coarse future daughter-in-law, Mona Brigstock. However, events take an unexpected turn when her married son Owen is attracted to her friend, Fleda Vetch. This tightly constructed novel, one of James’s shortest, depicts the struggle between mother and son, with the idealistic and put-upon Fleda caught in the crossfire.
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