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Three Novels of Old New York: The House of Mirth; The Custom of the Country; The Age of Innocence

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  146 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Edith Wharton made the world of Old New York her own, the wealthy high society so powerfully depicted in these three elegantly ironic novels. Revolving around the marriage question, they explore the dilemma of women and men held within the rigid bounds of social convention. Thus in The House of Mirth, the novel that first brought Edith Wharton to fame, the complex, poignan ...more
Paperback, 992 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Penguin Classics (first published 1920)
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John Nelson
Sep 13, 2015 John Nelson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Edith Wharton was perhaps the premier novelist of late nineteenth century New York high society.

The heroine of the first novel in this collection - The House of Mirth - is a beautiful woman of good birth. These traits give her entree into the best houses, as well as the attention of numerous suitors. At the same time, her position is tenuous. Her parents are deceased and her financial resources slim. As a result, she must play her cards well to prosper, or even to survive.

This she attempts to do
Ea Solinas
Apr 29, 2015 Ea Solinas rated it it was amazing
America and Europe of the 1800s were stiff, gilded, formal place, full of "old" families, rigid customs and social transgressions.

And nobody chronicled them better than Edith Wharton, who spun exquisitely barbed novels out of the social clashes of the late nineteenth century. "Three Novels of New York: The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence" contains some of the best work she ever did, exploring the nature of infidelity, passion, social-climbing and a woman's place i
Apr 22, 2009 Pat rated it liked it
I read the first book in this collection, "The House of Mirth." . . . . it was frustrating and depressing. I have not moved on to either of the others. I do love the old way of writing so I gave it three stars, but I found the inability of the characters to speak truthfully to each other, which would have made their lives soooo much easier in the first place, irritating! But then, I guess that was how it was in those days.
Mindy Conde
Feb 04, 2015 Mindy Conde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
I just finished The Age of Innocence. I read The House of Mirth years ago and loved it, but hadn't read anything else by Wharton until now. I thought that this was a really humorous and interesting look at New York Society. It was rather different than the serious and sometimes upsetting story of The House of Mirth, but I quite enjoyed it. It did seem to drag a bit at the beginning until you began to differentiate the characters and recognize who was who. By far, the best part of the novel is th ...more
Feb 14, 2007 Nadia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Old classic lovers
All three of these books, especially The Age of Innocence, touch on the timeless hypocrisy of life and society. It amazes me how much hasn't changed since 1900..
May 28, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
I can' t find The Custom of the Country by itself here, but I just recently read it based on a New Yorker article about Edith Wharton. The arricle argued that the novel rivals The Great Gatsby as a commenraey on early 29th century America. I read The Age of Innocence within the last year and am currently re-reading House of Mirth.
Jean Nicolazzo
Mar 21, 2009 Jean Nicolazzo rated it really liked it
Except for The Custom of the Country, which was utterly inferior, I would give these volumes five stars. Lily Bart and Ellen Olenska are two of my favorite fictional characters (along with Anna Karenina and Becky Sharpe - could there be a pattern here?), and it's good to be reminded of how few options women had not too long ago.
Jan 16, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it
So...what can I say about Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth. Well, I the book (they were both in the same collection) across the room on more than one occasion. The characters make you crazy, but you can't stop reading. The Age of Innocence was also excellent. I think I threw that one only once.
Mar 24, 2007 Abby rated it really liked it
A trip to Edith Wharton's home in New England inspired me to read up, and the Three Novels of Old New York were classic tales of Wharton-era Manhattan: down-on-their-luck ladies, impetuous young men, unwanted pregnancies... You know, stuff we don't have anymore in the 21st century.
Jan 27, 2008 Johnida rated it really liked it
The Custom of the Country was relatively forgettable. Both The Age of Innocence and House of Mirth are wonderful reads. The movie adaptation of House of Mirth was a horrible train wreck, however.
Feb 10, 2010 Wendy rated it it was ok
Read The Age of Innocence for book group. Rich descriptions, can see a lot of the author and her loveless marriage in the book. Did not really enjoy it.
E.C. McCarthy
Sep 23, 2013 E.C. McCarthy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The House of Mirth broke my heart years ago.
Jonetta Mason
Oct 13, 2010 Jonetta Mason rated it did not like it
Just started it for my women's Lit Class.
Jan 20, 2008 Cici rated it liked it
Very heavy without hope stories
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a ...more
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