READER REPORT:

I've just finished reading... The House of Mirth

ANDY GILLIES
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2012
House of Mirth
A CLASSIC: Edith Wharton crafts a rich web.

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I've just finished reading…

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This is the story of the fall of Miss Lily Bart, a beautiful and much in demand social butterfly.

Her upbringing has created an individual disconnected from the real world, whose only concern is maintaining her fame so that she may recruit a wealthy husband who can then fund the lifestyle to which she is accustomed.

While this makes her sound a gold-digger, she is actually a sensitive and gentle individual who is trapped by the rules set by her mother.

As she approaches the spinster age, she sees a growing need to find the man she requires. However, the social standards she feels she must abide by prevent her from accepting true love and she allows rumours to continue unchecked.

Edith Wharton has crafted a novel that is like stroking velvet: rich, sumptuous and smooth.

While Lily is annoying, because she will not see reason, this is Wharton's point: the folly of following unreal social standards to conform, rather than following your own path based on what you want or believe.

There are many parallels that can be drawn with today's cult of celebrity and its false world created by adoration, the double standards and the viciousness prompted by failure or self protection.

I found this to be a surprisingly enjoyable read and would heartily recommend it.


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