House of Mirth Hardcover – 10 Sep 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautiful Lily Bart, trained from birth to take her place in the highest echelons of New York society of the late 19th century, lacks the money to maintain her position in this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by FictionFan
This is the second Edith Wharton book that I've read and I preferred "The Custom of the Country". Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jenny
Loved this even more than 'The Age of Innocence'. Beautifully written but very sad.Published 8 months ago by Katkin
Bought this after reading the Age of Innocence. Can only say again that this lady is an exceptional writer.Published 9 months ago by Richard V Raiment
I didn't like it but 8 out of 11 book club members did. I found it a bit like wading through treacle and very depressing.Published 10 months ago by J. Pedgrift
I chose four stars because the book is very gripping from the start. It is usually difficult for me to get so hooked on a book from page one. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dominika