Customer Review

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at 19th Century New York Society, 28 July 2007
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This review is from: The House of Mirth (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
"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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Jan 2008 12:45:30 GMT
A excellent summary of the book thank you.
Oonagh

Posted on 12 Mar 2013 17:58:23 GMT
Another favourite. Very sad ending. Classic literature. Love 'Misfit's' review. Couldn't agree more.
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Misfit
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