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Publisher's Summary

Lily Bart, a beautiful, intelligent, but penniless young woman, lives on the outskirts of New York's high society, craving the luxurious lifestyle of her wealthy contacts. But while Lily possesses the grace, taste, and morality of the ideal turn-of-the-century lady, her delicate innocence threatens her survival in that very world. As she fights to maintain her newfound place among the aristocracy, Lily struggles mightily against what lurks beneath all the glitter and gold - greed, vulgarity, and ruthless competition. In her brilliantly perceptive novel, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, the peerless, Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicler of Old New York, provides yet another heartbreaking glimpse into the world of manners, privilege, betrayal, and shocking falls from grace.

For more informative lectures about this work, don't miss A Study Guide to The House of Mirth.
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Critic Reviews

"The House of Mirth is uniquely authentic among American novels of manners." (Louis Auchincloss)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anna on 03-30-10

Pride and prejudice can bring a girl down.

This was a deeply satisfying audio.
The story is beautifully written and read....a good reader is so important to the audio experience. In fact I may well have become a little irritated with the depth of detail and repetition had I been reading it for myself; but really these qualities help to underline the inexorability of Lily's fate.
Having recently read Trollope's perspective on 19th century British "society", it was interesting to get the feel of what was going on in New York at the same time

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alicia Czechowski on 05-29-11

The misfortune of beauty

My favorite Wharton novel.
Beauty, brains and breeding promise great success for Lily Bart. We are introduced to the heroine when her social triumphs are just beginning to be a thing of the past, and no one is more aware of the clock ticking away than Lily herself.
Wharton lucidly shows how Lily's expectations and upbringing have prepared her for a kind of life for which, at heart, she has a contempt. Her intelligence and sensitivity make her overly critical of the hypocrisy and vanity of the set in which she aspires to reign.
Wrong choices, bad luck and false friends erode Lily's last chance at fortune. The reduced circumstances in which her only true friends live is repugnant to Lily who can only imagine life being worth while when passed amid luxury.
We vividly see the illusory trap that prevents Lily Bart from escaping the denouement.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Iris on 03-16-09

A Timeless Classic

Dip into the book and below the title, and you find the painted smile of the classic clown whose tragedy is unstoppable.
I find myself returning to The House of Mirth almost as often as I go back to Pride & Prejudice. Both Wharton and Austen build their characters so well, one grows to know the fictional creations intimately.
Don't allow the customs or costumes deter as you enter the world of Miss Lily Bart of New York as she graces the fashion and tussles with the mores and challenges of early twentieth century America.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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