William Dean Howells' 1885 novel follows the rags-to-riches story of Silas Lapham, who earns his fortune in mineral paint and builds a fashionable home in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. In spite of his newfound wealth, Lapham isn't as successful at navigating the hierarchy of high society, which he hopes will be remedied by his daughter's marriage into an aristocratic family. Jim Killavey performs with a stentorian force and gives the characters a slight New England accent, perfectly setting the scene of this American classic's view of the tensions surrounding old and new money.
© and (P)1997 Jimcin
Silas Lapham is a delightful book - Howells crafts a wonderful and engaging story that's much more complex than its new-money-in-Boston-society premise. The plots centered on family/marriage drama, class tension, and business drama are interwoven in rich and gratifying ways.
If I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars, because the narrator is nowhere near as good as most offered on Audible. He's got a strong regional (Boston, I presume) accent that he standardizes a little awkwardly, and the rhythms and intonations of his phrases sometimes seem a little off. The narration didn't ruin it for me, but it took more getting used to than most.
This engrossing book was made stiff and slow by the reader. The story of a self-made man, his aspirations and his family's trials and triumphs is timeless. A classic like this book deserves a good reader to bring the language and mores into the present. I almost gave up listening because of the robotic reading.
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