My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The House of Mirth
is an exquisite, classic tragedy. Wharton’s creation, Lily Bart, is among the truly honest, tragic heroines – driven by her best instincts and her highest ideals to make choices that lead to sink further into the mire of her society.
As Wharton explains, Lily Bart was raised to be decorative. When that fails because of her own, inner standards of behavior and expectation, her life takes on the inevitable nightmare of rejection and exclusion.
The two people who love her throughout her descent are blind to her plight in some instances. Gerty Farish is the most faithful friend but her own experience gives her a bias against Lily’s peculiar situation.
Lawrence Selden loves Lily for the very reasons that her position in society is in peril, but when she needs him most, he deserts her.
I read every word of this novel, studied the human frailties and heroism. For many reasons, I believe Lily Bart is one of the greatest heroines of modern literature. I recommend this book to anyone who is a student of humanity.
I doubt there is a finer chronicler of American society of the Edwardian era, pre-World War I, than Edith Wharton.
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