Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Book Review: The House of Mirth

House of mirth

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Narrated by Barbarra Caruso

Category: Classics

Challenges: The Classic Circuit

Synopsis: From 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.

My Thoughts: Unfortunately this is going to be my first abandoned book of the year. I found Lily to be far to annoying for me to be able to finish the book. I listened to it on audio and I missed loads because I got distracted since the book didn’t keep my attention.

The language was beautiful but did at times ramble.  To my mind nothing really happened. Lily was to blame for her predicament in life. She was arrogant and entitled. She had a great deal of distain for all those around her. She was snobbish and plain annoying.

What it did show quite well was how trapped women of Lily’s class were. If they were not independently wealthy they were dependent on a husband or on relatives. They had few chances to earn their own money and they weren’t educated to take care of themselves. This issue is of great interest to me and possibly why I stuck with the book for as long as I did.

The narrator was actually quite good. She managed to capture the tone of Lily and her world very well. There was also none of the annoying music one sometimes gets with audio book.

I really wish I had liked it more than I did. Maybe I will try and read a physical copy of it.

Copyright ©2009-2010 Zee from Notes from the North.clip_image001This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Amanda said...

The rambly-ness really doesn't get any better throughout the book, and Lily stays herself the whole time. I didn't particularly enjoy this one either.

Aarti said...

I don't know if I can do Edith Wharton. It seems like she just writes a lot about unlikeable characters! Not sure I'm up for that.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I recently read The Touchstone (review on Fri) and didn't love it. I was going to give Wharton another shot, but now I'm wondering.

Anonymous said...

I think they made a movie of this a while back with Gillian Anderson (Scully) as the main character. It was slow and depressing, and I think I fell asleep on it. I usually like the period movies like that, but this particular story seemed a bit suffocating.

Zee said...

It is really rather comforting to hear that you all have issues with Wharton as well. I was beginning to think I had missed something. I might give some of her short stories a go but I think this might be it for full length novels.

Rebecca Reid said...

I read this book very slowly -- via -- and it was okay, not my favorite Wharton. But I do think that Wharton is somewhat of a love it or hate it author. She addresses lots of issues through her stories and not so much of a page-turning plot.

Thanks for joining the circuit all the same! It's great to get lots of perspectives.