CC's Reviews > The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
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really liked it
bookshelves: classics, historical, romance

[I "read" this using a public domain/free audiobook read by the very talented reader Elizabeth Klett, who paces and reads every voice in this story wonderfully. To download, please visit]

This is a very thoughtful and deep look at America/New York's High Society during the Gilded Age. The main protagonist/heroine, Miss Lily Bart, is despairing and tragic in her desires and faults yet worth the evocation of our sympathy. Her life can be a representative of each of our battle against the tide of social pressures and condemnations. Think of the times when those we consider friends forsake us, and when we refuse the help of our true friends and family in our pride and ignorance and want for independence yet being still so dependent on others - psychologically, socially, economically.

Wharton's style of prose is beautiful and elegant, and although it can be long sometimes, it's nothing compared to Dickens. There is also much colorful dialogue to keep the acts interesting (in fact, she tend to use cliff-hanger dialogue endings to chapters which I found to be very effective and NOT annoying). And every character is unique and realistic in their own way.

Although the ending was depressing, it was perfect in its own way. I love that Lily struggled to keep her integrity to the end despite everything being against her. I do think that Rosendale's exit was too sudden and incomplete (but probably realistic). And Seldon - oh, what to say about him? except to say to him "you have come too late..."

And one of the BEST ending lines of all time:

“He knelt by the bed and bent over her, draining their last moment to its lees; and in the silence there passed between them the word which made all clear.”

So if you are interested in an insightful exposition of themes like the human struggle of integrity amidst materialism and worldly comforts, addiction, the individualist struggle in a society prone to force conformity, etc., I'd HIGHLY RECOMMEND this worthy classic.

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Reading Progress

January 24, 2019 – Started Reading
January 24, 2019 – Shelved
January 24, 2019 – Shelved as: classics
January 24, 2019 – Shelved as: historical
January 24, 2019 – Shelved as: romance
January 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

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