The House of Mirth

Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (note: free on Kindle!) is an incredible novel that I can’t believe I never read up until now.  Thankfully one of my book clubs was reading it this month so I downloaded it for free and read it from my phone in the middle of the night while nursing the baby.

Note: this is a bleak book, and reading it in the dark while you’re sleep deprived might heighten the tragic bits for you!

I’m tempted to call the book a tragedy, but really the sad downward spiral of a woman from the upper echelons of New York society down to the dregs was mostly the main character’s fault.  That said, the book does a masterful job of exploring questions about how our upbringing contributes to our reactions and perceptions and ability to function in life.  I found myself drawing lots of parallels to situations I’ve been a part of or observed.  Not because I’m so tied in to the upper echelons of society, but because Wharton did such a marvelous job of nailing human nature in her characters.

The pace and character development in the novel are strikingly well done, and in hindsight I find it amazing that I never became annoyed at the main character, in spite of her alarming refusal to learn from her mistakes.  The House of Mirth deserves its classic status, and I highly recommend it.


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3 thoughts on “The House of Mirth

  1. This one’a coming up soon on my classics to-read list so I’m glad to see a favorable review. Usually there’s always redeeming things about classics, thus the reason why they have withstood the test of time, but some can be so dry and overly descriptive. :-/
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