Monday, April 29, 2013

A classic.

The story opens with Elizabeth Channing arriving at Chatham, Massachusetts to become the new art teacher at the Chatham School.

Arthur Griswold, headmaster, meets her at the station. He's accompanied by his son, Henry, who will be a sophomore at the school. Henry is the narrator of the story.

Channing is a romantic and Henry develops a puppy love for her.

Soon after her arrival, a domestic at the Griswold home, Sarah Doyle, asks Channing if she would teach her how to read.

Henry and Sarah are the same age and they both find themselves at Channing's cottage at the same time. Henry would be working on his art and Sarah on her reading.

Then, Leland Reed arrives at Chatham to become the new poetry teacher. He's accompanied by his wife and small child.

Leland and channing are drawn together as the story moves back and forth from the peaceful start of the story to a trial involving some of the characters.

The reader isn't sure what crime was committed but there are parallels to Dreiser's "An American Tragedy."

Winner of the Edgar Award, this is a story that tugs at the reader's heart as the central characters are led to a tragedy that they don't seem able to avert.

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