Custom of the Country is a 1913 novel by Edith Wharton. I thought I had read this before, and it didn't take me long to remember it. Wharton's books do tend to be memorable for me. She's a master at building an entire world and peopling it so perfectly that it's almost as if you are there. I'd recommend anything by her as can't-miss enjoyment. You can read it online.
from the back of the book:
First published in 1913, Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country is a scathing novel of ambition featuring one of the most ruthless heroines in literature. Undine Spragg is as unscrupulous as she is magnetically beautiful. Her rise to the top of New York’s high society from the nouveau riche provides a provocative commentary on the upwardly mobile and the aspirations that eventually cause their ruin. One of Wharton’s most acclaimed works, The Custom of the Country is a stunning indictment of materialism and misplaced values that is as powerful today for its astute observations about greed and power as when it was written nearly a century ago.The New Yorker looks at Wharton's career and says, "Undine’s story is one you absolutely have to read. “The Custom of the Country” is the earliest novel to portray an America I recognize as fully modern, the first fictional rendering of a culture to which the Kardashians, Twitter, and Fox News would come as no surprise." The Guardian calls it "one of the most enjoyable great novels ever written" and says, "Not all enjoyable novels are great, and not all great novels are enjoyable. This is, supremely, both."
I know I've read Wharton in the past but never heard of this one. Where have I been? This is going to the top of my TBR list. Thanks so much for the review.ReplyDelete
I love her work, and -maybe best of all- her work is online and often available used. Good books for cheap! :)Delete
Oh, this is funny, only today I planned to read House of Mirth next. "A master at building an entire world and peopling it so perfectly that it's almost as if you are there" Wow. You've certainly made me eager to get started now.ReplyDelete
I have House of Mirth on my tbr shelf. I look forward to hearing what you think about it.Delete
This goes straight onto my list. I have seen the beautiful film "House of Mirth" with Gillian Anderson - sad but pretty. Never actually read anything by her, but as you say, I guess it´s a can´t-miss if you are into literature.ReplyDelete
I've never seen film adaptations of her work. She's a good read, though.Delete
Oh, I just want to add, it´s downloadable in several formats on Gutenberg (love them!), along with some others of hers.ReplyDelete
I sometimes read works online, since it's free and I'm cheap lol. I don't ever download them, though, because then I end up with my computer full of books to-be-read. I've decided that my physical to-be-read shelves are full enough ;)Delete
You must ask Santa to put a Kindle in your stocking next Christmas. ;-)Delete
That gives me the same problem lol As long as I have, what? 4? shelves of physical books I haven't read yet, storing more in any form seems like a bad idea. I'd end up with all the free public domain classics I haven't read neatly stored in my Kindle, but if I don't ever get around to reading them.... I might consider it if I could finish reading the books I already own lolDelete
I do know what you mean, but I have personally decided that electronic books are "all in the mind", as it were. The Kindle or the computer is no heavier for all the stuff I collect (payed for or not) and the pile is all imagined. I just realized I have hundreds of books on my Wishlist at amazon, most of which I can´t even remember putting there. That´s a pile just as real or unreal as the ones I downloaded. However one collects them, I think one must realize that some books might have been fit for us when we bought them, but will not suit our older selves, and I try to forgive myself for not having had time (or made time) to read it when there was that window of opportunity.Delete
This is how I try to free myself from the burden and the stress of the un-read. :-D
I agree with you. It hasn't been long since I culled my bookshelves, and I got rid of books I had read but didn't think I'd ever read again. I also went through my tbr stack. It was hard to admit to myself that there were books there that I didn't think I'd ever read. I got rid of quite a few of them, though. Now I have 1/2 shelf of mysteries, 1 shelf of science fiction/fantasy/horror, and 3 shelves of literary fiction I intend to read. I do sometimes go to bookstores and pick up books that get added to those shelves. I'm weak when it comes to books.Delete