The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
32/30 | Started 07.19.22 • Finished 08.09.22 | 2 stars
We should attempt a classic, we all said. And Edith Wharton makes a great one to try especially since she ties in with the time period of the Vanderbilts in Asheville, which we read about not too long ago. So let's choose one of hers - hey, how about The House of Mirth? Sounds like a plan!
She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.
But then we had to read it. And there were so. many. words. I figured I would have to adjust to the style of writing and speaking from that time in history, but this was more than that. I felt like the same storyline could have easily been conveyed in half as many words or pages than made up this book.
That very afternoon they had seemed full of brilliant qualities; now she saw that they were merely dull in a loud way.
And on top of that, I wasn't even a huge fan of the storyline! It was so self-centered and self-absorbed, even when Lily, our heroine, was in the doldrums of her existence. Was she in love? Was a man in love with her? Was she destined to be alone? Was she destined to be poor? Would she ever recover her social station? And just when it seems like she might have turned a bit of a corner, finally taken her eyes off of herself for just a moment, *spoiler alert* SHE DIES.
it had taken two to build the nest; the man’s faith as well as the woman’s courage. Lily remembered Nettie’s words: I knew he knew about me. Her husband’s faith in her had made her renewal possible—it is so easy for a woman to become what the man she loves believes her to be!
There were a few redeeming moments, like her conversations and interactions with Selden, and at times the words seemed to pare down and form into beautiful sentences. But I just cannot get behind this book and do truly wish that we had picked something else in the "classic" realm.
Alas, on to the next book.