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Download The House of Mirth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (32,911 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edith Wharton Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Set among the elegant brownstones and opulent country houses of turn-of-the-century upper-class New York, Edith Wharton’s first great novel is a precise, satiric portrayal of what the author herself called “a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers.” Her brilliantly complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, is an incisive commentary on the status of women in that society. Lily is all too much a product of the world indicated by the title, a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes: “The heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” From her tragic attraction to bachelor lawyer Lawrence Seldon to her desperate relationship with the social-climbing Rosedale, it is Lily’s very specialness that threatens the fulfillment she seeks in life.

Time after time, Lily fails to make the ultimate move, to abandon the possibility of a greater love and enter into a mercenary union. This masterful novel from one of literature’s greatest voices is a tragedy of money, morality, and missed opportunity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A tragedy of our modern life, in which the relentlessness of what men used to call Fate and esteem, in their ignorance, a power beyond their control, is as vividly set forth as ever it was by Aeschylus or Shakespeare.”

    New York Times

  • “Perhaps the finest study of American social life, certainly the strongest and most artistic novel of the year.”

    San Francisco Chronicle, 1905

  • “Wharton is mercilessly frank as she chronicles Lily’s fall from grace, contrasting psychological insights with descriptions of external effects…Wharton shows us exactly how women like Lily could be smothered by the upper reaches of society, where individual tragedies are easily subsumed by the current of other people lives.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Wharton’s characters leap out from the pages and…become very real. You know their hearts, souls and yearnings, and the price they pay for those yearnings.”

    San Francisco Examiner

  • “Lily’s misadventures create a shifting mix of poignancy, sadness, exhilaration, pity, even fear—for her and for the listener, who is well served in this audiobook by the truly marvelous narration of Anna Fields. She perfectly captures Lily and a largish cast, discriminating among them with such skill that you’ll believe you’re hearing a full-cast recording.”

    AudioFile

  • “Fields’ rendition vivifies the character in such a way that they become lifelong companions in one’s mind.”

    Booklist

  • “The performance by Fields is a perfect balance of energy and subtlety, lending and authenticity that is in keeping with Wharton’s vibrant prose style.”

    Kliatt

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • One of Modern Library's 100 Best English-Language Novels of the Twentieth Century

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Caroline | 2/20/2014

    " Gorgeous and lush writing, of course. In terms of story, a bit more wheel-spinning than I'd like, but I love the way she witholds--so what is not written is equally important as what is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kayla | 2/4/2014

    " Lily has everything a girl could want in the early 20th century: beauty, friends, and the admiration of men. The only thing that she doesn't have; money and a husband to provide it, is the one thing she can't get. Lily is pretty vapid and selfish most of the time, but when she fumbles and sabotages herself from moving upward. She is a tragic figure. Her clashes with Selden, a working man, separate from society, is especially interesting. A book about how society shapes our desires and crushes us with them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Eomicheli | 1/28/2014

    " This book was just OK for me. The main character reminded me a bit of Miranda from Dragonwyk...hard to believe the choices she made throughout the book. I felt the story would have been better if it were about 100 pages shorter. Not too much mirth in this book. I can honestly say it's hard to believe a love for wealth would be powerful enough to overpower true love... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Amber | 1/22/2014

    " This book just gets more interesting every time I read it. My take on the character of Lily Bart has definitely evolved over the last 10 years. "

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