The House of Mirth
By Edith Wharton
Why this book?
House of Mirth is a classic by Edith Wharton, described perfectly by its author as: “ A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.” It’s the Gilded Age and 29-year-old society girl Lily Bart’s time to find a husband is in its last season. ”Why must a girl pay so dearly," Lily contemplates being bored all afternoon by dull Percy Grice, "on the bare chance that he might ultimately do her the honor of boring her for life?" A more interesting Lawrence Selden arrives and Lily’s downfall begins.
House of Mirth continues to shake me in its powerful evocation of being trapped in class and trappings of wealth. Edith Wharton’s vivid New York neighborhoods become cherished characters in Lily’s tragedy. As an American and a born New Yorker, reading of the struggles of another time deeply resonates with me.
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