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Publisher's Summary

The House of Mirth was Edith Wharton's first great novel. Set among the elegant brownstones of New York City and opulent country houses like gracious Bellomont on the Hudson, the novel creates a satiric portrayal of what Wharton herself called "a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers" with a precision comparable to that of Proust. And her brilliant and complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, becomes an incisive commentary on the nature and status of women in that society.
(P)2001 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

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By Everett Leiter on 09-02-05

Fine reading of a great classic

Invited into the opulent New York society of 1905, beautiful Lily Bart seems irresponsibly to engage in the life of pleasure, parties, summering in country homes, and beautiful clothes. It's not clear at first (either to the reader or to Lily) whether she is looking for love, independence, or a rich husband. However, every time an opportunity presents itself, she squanders it or blunders, or simply oversleeps. It is one of the wonders of this novel that the reader cares so very much for Lily Bart. When the rich New York society unfairly betrays her and abandons her, her life begins to disintegrate. Her acceptance of each loss is dignified, and her realization of all of her missed opportunities, especially to unite with the one man in her life she loved, are deeply felt. The narration by Anna Fields is admirable.

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33 of 37 people found this review helpful

By C. Alexis on 07-24-08

Wonderful book, mediocre reader

This book is an incisive portrayal of high society life, written from the vantage point of a woman without the means to sustain such a life. It is gripping, elegant, and tightly written. I did not give this book 5 stars because its narrator, Anna Fields, is the wrong choice for this (and most) audiobooks. I've listened to several of her readings, and I am always astounded by how poorly she produces male voices. All men sound the same when she reads them, and they sound comical. The voice of one of the protagonists in this text can hardly be distinguished from the Native American voices she produced for a Louise Erdrich text I listened to. This book should have been read by someone who is very good at imitating Anglicized high-society voices, since such voices would have been consistent with the time period and used by these characters. If you can, I'd purchase the audiobook on Audible of this text that is read by a different reader.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Elise on 01-29-09


This is an excellent book, well read, but beware. The reading includes the full text of the introduction to the novel. It gives away the ending, so if you don't want to know what happens, fast forward through to the start of the novel.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By Welsh Mafia on 06-28-08

Credit crunch 1900s.......thoroughly modern Lily

The purposeful Lily Bart navigates her way through the wallets and wills of turn of the century New York in a timeless picaresque that would see her appearing on next week's Location, Location, Location....brandishing the proceeds of an elderly relative's post-mortem property boom bequest, in search of a sea view and a pair of floral designer flip-flops.
That Edith Wharton, the equal of Henry James, was in but not of Lily's type and society is the ray of hope in this novel. The boorish Gus Trenor and the dilettante Lawrence Selden are delivered unexpurgated - two sides of the same dollar. It's an enjoyable compleat that takes the listener fully into the House of Mirth - where the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Really enjoyable for a first time Wharton-ite!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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