I decided to participate in the Edith Trilogy Read-Along hosted by Brona of This Reading Life, but my copy didn’t arrive until June 29th, so I am late for the first one, which was to be read in June. I hope to be on time for the second in the series. This series introduces me to Frank Moorhouse, a highly regarded Australian writer.
On a train from Paris to Geneva to work at the newly created League of Nations, Edith Campbell Berry meets Major Ambrose Westwood, who will be a more senior officer in another section of the League. Edith is naïve and dedicated, a quirky person who has her Ways of Going but is determined to become more cosmopolitan than her Australian roots have made her so far. On the train, she and Ambrose share a kiss.
Edith and her coworkers are excited to be working for this important organization with its worldwide focus and its aim to prevent war. Edith conscientiously studies diplomacy from Ambrose and other senior officers and makes contributions of her own, enough to attract their attention and mentorship.
She does not always make the right choices and finds herself in some ridiculous situations. She also begins an affair with Ambrose, whose unusual proclivities lead her in unexpected directions.
At first, I wasn’t sure how much I liked Edith, particularly her habit of listing and examining what she thinks she knows and her almost aggressive questioning of ideas until she’s sure she understands them. I also noticed that she seemed not to pay much attention to events developing in Europe toward the end of the 20’s. But eventually I was charmed by her.
There were some pages toward the middle of the book when she was enumerating ideas that I skipped after reading several paragraphs, and shortly thereafter, when she was contemplating her poop, a scene I know was supposed to be funny, I was not amused. Still, I’m interested to read Cold Light, the next novel, especially because the book cover description contains a detail that I hope is wrong.