An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.
Having now read Ethan Frome and Age of Innocence and listened to The House of Mirth, I can say that Edith Wharton is an unsympathetic author. She expects her characters and readers to look at the world through an objective lens. She places her characters into situations that have extreme consequences, and part of her program, so it seems, is to see how people will respond when tempted. What seems a small decision lingers throughout the narrative, especially for Lilly Bart, whose life descends into degradation as she is forced to compromise who she is for the sake of money. Simple decisions exact a terrible toll on her, and in the end, she succumbs to the hardships of her existence. If you enjoy happy endings or you feel too much for characters, then Edith Wharton might not be the author for your tastes. If you, on the other hand, expect a text to point to larger truths of how society functions--here late 19th/early 20th century--then her books are a fine source of how so much of life depends on the external forces of other people.
The novel has wonderful prose but, despite its cynicism, a sentimentality and moral flavour that doesn't always ring true to a modern ear. But Eleanor Bron reads it so beautifully and with such wit and feeling that she lends it the lightness it sometimes needs. A classic novel to which the narrator more than does justice.
I love Edith Wharton's writing and how, for her time, she challenged society's perception of women. But time has taken its toll. The study of Lily Bart, sympathetically and yet clinically carried out, fails to resonate with today.
I found them both equal
If you liked Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country then you would probably enjoy this as well. Or even Portrait of a Lady. Because it involves the same time period and the same look at wealthier social customs.
I think she voiced the main character Lily's voice in an inviting and charming way, which is perfect for her character. She makes people love her while she is with them, and her voice draws people in.
Yes, while I did enjoy the tale as a whole I found the main characters motivations for self sabotage ill explained aside from absolute stupidity, and yet the author goes to great lengths to show her as very intelligent so it just baffled