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House of Mirth

House of Mirth [Kindle Edition]

Edith Wharton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Gore Vidal There are only three or four American novelists who can be thought of as "major," and Edith Wharton is one.


'To my mind, her greatest novel ... beautifully written ... never jaded or perfunctory. The humour sedately delirious.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 569 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486420493
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083ZABJ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,592 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at 19th Century New York Society 28 July 2007
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth" Ecclesiastes 7:4 KJV. Hence begins the story of Lily Bart, raised from birth with no other purpose in life than to be a beautiful ornament to society. Lily is left with little money of her own and must rely on family and friends until she can make an advantageous marriage. Unfortunately, she makes some poor choices in life which diminish her social status, which eventually leads her to attempts to eke out a living among the working class.

Wharton, who grew up in this same environment, pulls no punches. We see both the glamour and richness of late 19th century New York society, along with it's evil underside. Wharton's prose is glorious, but you have to pay attention and not wander or you'll end up back tracking and reading that paragraph again so as not to miss the story, you want to slow down and enjoy it like a fine red wine or a box of chocolate (or both). If you enjoy classic literature with a soap opera melodramatic tone to it (like Hardy's Tess), this should be right up your alley. So many times Lily and Seldon missed their opportunity for happiness! Have the hanky ready for the last chapters, you'll need it.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edith Wharton at her best 24 July 2002
By A Customer
In 'House of Mirth', Wharton's prose, timing and deft touch are all much in evidence. What makes this an especially enjoyable work is its unpredictibility. Whilst 'The Age of Innocence' is perhaps Wharton's most famous novel, 'House of Mirth' is more complex (and less cliched, I feel) - and ultimately more satisfying in terms of plot and characterisation.
The novel follows the events surrounding Lily Bart, a society beauty in 19th century New York, who must marry money in order to secure a life of luxury. Lily's flawed character is marvellously fleshed-out - making her a very real heroine. A number of suitors present themselves, but Lily's inability to marry solely for money, the prejudices of New York Society and ultimately - Lily's tendency to play her cards badly - produces a thoroughly absorbing ending.
The film, by the way, does not do the novel justice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comment on Modern Times and Social Facade 9 Sep 2000
You won't like Lily Bart when first you meet her in this book....I didn't. She is vain, spoiled, too beautiful and too clever for her own good. She is the product of a society that considered women useful as ornaments only....marry young, marry rich. A product of a time, long gone, when women where groomed from birth to accomplish nothing else. Lilly had learned her lessons well, unfortunately, Lilly has also learned that the glittering society that she inhabits is a sham. One where wealth and reputation mean more than honesty and moral values. The fact that she is aware, is able to see the hyprocricy of her friends and relatives is what redeems her to the reader. It is that which makes her likeable and admirable in the end. Yet, does she employ her awareness, or does she give in to the society values, in order to live the life she craves, of ease and wealth? Lilly is master of her own fate, she will marry, someone rich, since she has no money of her own, but in her own time. Only perhaps Lilly tarrys too long. Seldon is a well off man, not rich, but still part of society....he is not rich enough to marry but he is the secret love of Lilly's heart. It is between the choice of love or money that Lilly is caught, in a society where: "a girl must, a man many if he chooses" we are compelled to read on to see what she will do. Its a book I would recommend for an excellent read with a strong female lead.Thankful that a society like this, where you live off of your looks and your wealth, no longer exists....or does it?
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Survive The Savage Society 9 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Set in 1890's New York, we follow the life of Miss Lily Bart, a dazzling socialite, sharp-witted and beautiful as she whirls amongst the parties and events in the endless social calendar of the fashionable hierarchy. But fortune does not favour Lily; despite her much-admired beauty, she is an impoverished spinster who struggles to keep up with the tremendous expense of living the lifestyle of the exclusive rich set.
Lily's descent into poverty is terribly compelling to witness; scandal follows scandal, as Lily's circle of former acquaintance turns it back on her and leaves only a few caring true friends. Your heart sinks with every step down the social ladder for Lily, and the close of the novel is tragic and moving. Despite her flaws, you are still rooting for Lily to regain her rightful status in genteel society, and this is evidence enough that Edith Wharton was a masterful storyteller. I have yet to see the film of the novel, starring Gillian Anderson as Lily, but if it remains true to the novel, then it must be worth seeing.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I was totally overwhelmed by 'The House of Mirth'. Although it was clear that Lily's short sightedness was responsible for her downfall, I find it difficult to pin point exactly why the character evoked such strong feelings of sympathy from me. Her beauty makes her captivating, and she is so naieve and inexperienced, that you cannot help but feel so much sadness when things take an inevitable turn for the worse. The ending was incredibly emotional and so moving, illustrating the point that, at the end of the day, beauty will not secure success or fulfillment. I cannot reccomend this book highly enough - it is beautifully written with a complex yet incredibly loveable female protagonist. In my opinion, this book is underrated. It is certainly worthy of the title "Modern Classic".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
It went on and on
Published 1 day ago by Maude1963
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really enjoyed this book. Stands the test of time.
Published 2 days ago by Elaine Streetin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Yet to read.
Published 7 days ago by Plain Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Woe....
If you ever felt you might be just too happy, this book will put a stop to that. Rarely have I read such a canter towards disaster - it just comes inexorably towards the reader... Read more
Published 11 days ago by R. L. Delisser
5.0 out of 5 stars good cheap edition of a classic American novel
This is an excellent cheap edition with useful numbered notes of a classic pre-Gatsby American novel (it's set in or around 1905), exploring a not dissimilar hugely privileged... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane
5.0 out of 5 stars The House of Mirth (Wordsworth Classics)
I had watched the film of this and felt impelled to read the book which is an excellent depiction of the period and the futility and hypocrisy of "society" ladies and their... Read more
Published 4 months ago by biglouis
5.0 out of 5 stars A house of mirth for the hearts of fools.
“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” we’re told in Ecclesiastes. Read more
Published 5 months ago by David Beeson
4.0 out of 5 stars House of Mirth
Typical of Edith Wharton's prose which engages the brain. A good storyline; which captures your attention and you feel engrossed with the characters.
Published 6 months ago by Mrs C M Oatridge
5.0 out of 5 stars well worth a read
Fabulous read,would highly recommend! Decided to start at impromptu book club on new years eve and this was our first choice. Read more
Published 7 months ago by theidlegit
5.0 out of 5 stars a true classic
Since I am from Belgium, there was a lot of English and American literature which i had never read. So when i moved to Ireland i started discovering all these books and i must say... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
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