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Download The House of Mirth Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The House of Mirth Audiobook, 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: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455177509
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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

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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 1/16/2014

    " The story of Lily Bart is a story about how a young woman slips through the cracks of society and finds herself on the outside due to the poor choices she makes. There is also an excellent movie with Gillian Anderson as Lily. Edith Wharton is one of my favourite novelists. Wharton was considered a masterful novelist. Even her second novel shows her true talent. She is an inspiration to me as a writer. This was the second time I have read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maaian Arditi | 1/10/2014

    " The novel started off well but then I personally found that it got dull and eventless up until the last few chapters which were fantastic. When you see the final decline of Ms Bart is when I think Wharton truly shines and I hope this continues in the next novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 12/24/2013

    " i really enjoyed the first half of the book -- i especially enjoyed giggling at lily's self-absorption and arrogance. the second half started to drag on after a while, but i enjoyed it overall. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phyllis | 12/22/2013

    " Loved this book. Older book but holds up so well still. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie Lawrence | 9/3/2013

    " I love Judith Wharton. I read this book over 20 years ago and recommend it highly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 7/20/2013

    " Edith Wharton was ahead of her time, a true talent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi Mangan | 7/17/2013

    " Beautifully written but what a depressing read. Unfortunately, there was little redeeming about the protagonist, Lily Bart. I much preferred "Age of Innocence." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 6/28/2013

    " not as soul crushingly depressing as Ethan Frome, but also not as good. Somewhere between "The Age of Innocence" and "Ethan Frome." "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth Sitrick | 6/3/2013

    " A difficult book to get through, but the opulence and sense of entitlement seemed completely plausible and fascinating. I was sad that things ended so tragically. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha Woods | 4/18/2013

    " For me, this is one of those books that can only be appreciated after reflection. While reading it - I hated it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivia | 3/18/2013

    " A very affecting story told with studied whimsy. A must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 12/19/2012

    " Classica are classics for a reason. I am amazed how much I missed as a student. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathi | 9/21/2012

    " Got bored...lost interest....what can I say? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lauren | 8/1/2012

    " Hmmm...didn't love this. I appreciate the eloquence of Wharton's diction and the sophistication of her style, but I found it a bit Victorian and tedious, and I knew what would happen at the end of the story from its first page. I think I'm all Whartoned out for a while "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bianca | 7/23/2012

    " this book made me feel really powerful as a woman. until the end, that is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 7/5/2012

    " Read this about 15 years ago and reread half of it this time. Also saw the movie with Gillian Anderson, Eric Stolz, and Dan Akyroyd. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adela | 5/8/2012

    " Not nearly so dull as EM Forster, but not a ton better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kara | 11/12/2011

    " The movie was great. Liked the book almost as much as Age of Innocence. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy Peoples | 8/4/2011

    " Finally read me some Wharton. Nice commentary on how difficult to be a woman during that time. I like the title vis a vis the main character and her social whirl. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/23/2011

    " Lily Bart is a fascinating character. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara | 5/22/2011

    " I thought this book was okay. The main character was so wishy washy that I was constantly yelling at her in my head throughout this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 5/20/2011

    " Who doesn't love a book about the lives of the upper class? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina | 5/9/2011

    " Holy crap, what a story. And a vocab lesson, in the best possible way. Edith Wharton is one of those authors I categorized in college as being too second wave, but I was wrong, she was her own wave, and Ms. Bart brings it home in a stunning way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Klymene | 5/5/2011

    " it was boring long and the end was throughly disapointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 4/22/2011

    " Loved it! I can't believe it took me until age 32 to read Edith Wharton...Poor Lily. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/22/2011

    " MY. FAVORITE. BOOK. EVER. So complicated, yet so simple. I have read this book more than ten times and loved it more each time. Still extremely relevant, as Lily Bart struggles against the limitations on women's choices and refuses to accept compromises until it is too late. Triumphant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherry | 4/21/2011

    " Wharton is just brilliant. I love her individual sentences.

    This particular story has a dark bite, but I adored reading it. Although I knew the premise of the story, the way she brings everything about wasn't expected, though felt natural. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 4/20/2011

    " Beautifully written but what a depressing read. Unfortunately, there was little redeeming about the protagonist, Lily Bart. I much preferred "Age of Innocence." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caren | 4/13/2011

    " Loved it. I think Lily purposely took her life. Life was just too dismal and she didn't see in hope. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katrina | 4/13/2011

    " I loved this story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 4/13/2011

    " For me, this is one of those books that can only be appreciated after reflection. While reading it - I hated it. "

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About the Author
Author Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was born in New York and is best known for her stories of life among the upper-class society into which she was born. She was educated privately at home and in Europe. In 1894 she began writing fiction, and her novel The House of Mirth established her as a leading writer. Her novels The Age of Innocence and Old New York were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first woman to receive that honor. In 1929 she was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.