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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