One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
"Money, it's a hit,
Don't give me that do goody good bullsh!t."*
A superb, timeless novel that went to my top 40 (at least) because it was a real kick in the a$$ to NYC upper class society in the early 20th Century. So, why haven't we had these societal mirrors nearly as often or recent as we should?
Take an utter beauty^ of modest means, orphaned at a young age and raised to be a perfect wife of wealth and privilege
put her into the depraved, hostile, covetous and capricious upper class society in Gilded Age New York City,
have her want love + wealth + status while maintaining a streak of independence, her moral compass and a touch of folly,
a timeless classic tragedy arising from innocent Lily Bart's struggle against society and its expectations.
“She felt a stealing sense of fatigue as she walked; the sparkle had died out of her, and the taste of life was stale on her lips. She hardly knew what she had been seeking, or why the failure to find it had so blotted the light from her sky: she was only aware of a vague sense of failure, of an inner isolation deeper than the loneliness about her.”Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
The eponymous verse from the King James Bible**:
"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
*Roger Waters, "Money" (1973)
**Her alternative title was "A Moment's Ornament," from one of her favorite poems, "She was a Phantom of Delight," first stanza (1804) "
She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleam'd upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament:....
Wm. Wordsworth, "She was a Phantom of Delight," first stanza (1804)
^"Everything about her was warm and soft and scented; even the stains of her grief became her as raindrops do the beaten rose." Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
Such an amazing story!
The narrator was wonderful, I think she did a great job of changing her voice and portraying each character accurately. I was very impressed with her performance.
Love this book, I'd recommend it to anyone.
Transcends the novel-of-manners about aristocrats genre....a study of human relationships and pride. Won't forget for a long time. Narrator does a great job differentiating among characters without falling into caricature.
A manipulative and melodramatic plot which successfully skewers New York society of 1905, but achieves little else. Great writing skills rather wasted
This was my first listen and I enjoyed it very much!
The voice of the narrator and how she changed her voice from character to character.
The style of writing is delicious. But I just know if I tried to read it my eyes would gloss over with a quickness. Ms. Bron's narrating style allows the meanings of any complicated sentences to be put together and understood. Not anyone could do that. I enjoyed listening so much I'm moved to comment. Thank you Eleanor Bron!
While I had seen the film adaptation of this book, it pales in comparison to the book. The narrator could not have been better as her tone and subtleties very much lent themselves to the storyline.
Although I knew the ending going in, I still kept hoping for a different outcome. That is how engrossing this experience was for me.
I feel bad giving this story a bad review as it was very well written and extremely important for its time. It is just so hopelessly depressing I couldn't finish it.
This is the first book I've read by Edith Wharton and, trust me, I'll be reading as many as I can from here on out! I found myself constantly upset with the center of the novel, Lily Bart, because of her ego, her reluctance to accept the love being offered to her upon nearly every encounter with a male (though one she was wise to refuse), and her inability (or, rather, lack of effort) to crawl out of the hole she had dug for herself in the final chapters of the book.
But, no matter what the author was expressing, I've seldom seen more beautifully constructed sentences, painting an exquisite picture of the characters' surroundings, moods and behaviors. Not only does she display a wonderful landscape, she also delivers bits of wisdom here and there to keep the reader from falling into Lily's debacle.
"In whatever form a slowly-accumulated past lives in the blood - whether in the concrete image of the old house stored with visual memories, or in the conception of the house not built with hands, but made up of inherited passions and loyalties - it has the same power of broadening and deepening the individual existence, of attaching it by mysterious links of kinship to all the mighty sum of human striving."
Eleanor Bron's performance of the novel is terrific, with discernible accents for specific characters and the ability to fluently express the author's tremendous work. Well done, indeed.
I am a big Edith Wharton fan, and I love The House of Mirth. Eleanor Bron's reading is extraordinary, and brought a whole new dimension to this masterpiece. Fair warning: this book is anything by mirthful. It is a very sad, but very thought-provoking exploration of ethics, morality, and personal responsibility,revealed through the life story of Lily Bart and the people in her circle of the New York elite in the early 20th century. I defy anyone to listen through to the end of this book without being moved. Well done!