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The Custom of the Country
The Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
The Custom of the Country is a 1913 novel by Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend in New York City society
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review
CindyMyLifeIsLit
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Pickpick

I love Wharton‘s writing and this was another great one. Undine Spragg is a memorable character, indeed! She is like a chameleon, adapting herself to every new environment to ensure that she achieves her goals. The changes are surface-level only—inside, her character stays the same: selfish, self-centered, greedy, and ambitious. She hasn‘t a thought to spare for anyone but herself. She actually makes Scarlett O‘Hara look sympathetic! 🤔

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IndoorDame
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Pickpick

This had the most amazing first and last lines of anything I‘ve ever read! And while it was a character novel about unlikeable characters, the gorgeous writing style and incisive insights into these people‘s lives made it a joy to read. I kept thinking it would make such an incredible stage play, so I can‘t wait to see Sophia Coppola‘s screen adaptation. #Pantone2023 #PinkCosmos #Roll100 #Sharreadathon #20in4

Andrew65 Sounds lovely 👏👏👏 1y
Clwojick STUNNING cover! 😍 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks I‘m in love with the cover!! 1y
IndoorDame @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Clwojick I know! When I saw this edition posted on Litsy I couldn‘t help myself! 1y
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IndoorDame
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“Undine Spragg—how can you?” her mother wailed, raising a prematurely-wrinkled hand heavy with rings to defend the note which a languid “bell-boy” had just brought in.

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Leftcoastzen
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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#12booksof2022 my September pick.Undine Spragg, the main character of this novel is a relentless social climber,to reach her next goal she cares not who she damages or leaves behind in her wake.Wharton is so good at nuanced & detailed writing, and doesn‘t hesitate to skewer people of her class .I read several of Wharton‘s books this year , some with the group
#WhartonBuddyRead the discussions are a treat!

Andrew65 I loved her books when we read them on #AuthorAMonth. 1y
CarolynM One of my favourites of last year too. 1y
61 likes2 comments
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IndoorDame
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I‘m excited about my first stab at a #roll100 challenge next month. I‘m determined to keep all my challenges feeling low-key next year, so we‘ll see if I manage to actually read any of these now that the dice have chosen them. @PuddleJumper

PuddleJumper Good luck! 1y
42 likes1 comment
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IndoorDame
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@EvieBee You were right, I did need this one. It‘s so pretty I just couldn‘t resist! I‘ve had no willpower lately when it comes to book buying. Will endeavor to do better 🙈🤞🏼

CarolynM I‘ve got an ebook complete Wharton for the buddy read. I‘m thinking of getting hard copies of the ones I like and I think this edition will be one of them🙂 1y
IndoorDame @CarolynM I also got a beautiful copy of Summer recently illustrated by Haleigh DeRocher 1y
EvieBee Yay!! This one is definitely necessary for a “collector” right? 😄 1y
64 likes3 comments
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Megabooks
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While I‘m adjusting to life back home, I got some wonderful #bookmail from @penguinrandomhouse 💜 Thank you!

I love this Vitae edition of the Wharton. Just so pretty!

I‘ve been watching HBO since my mom had Saturday Night Fever on when she was on bed rest while pregnant. I‘m looking forward to to reading more about the shows that shaped my Sunday nights in It‘s Not TV.

I‘ve already read and enjoyed the Mamet, so it is headed to a Litsy friend!

squirrelbrain That‘s such a pretty edition of the Wharton! 💕 Hope you‘re feeling OK. (edited) 1y
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Cinfhen Welcome home!! Lovely book mail ♥️ 1y
Bookwomble Good to hear you're back home, Meg 💖 I hope you're feeling more comfortable soon 🙂 1y
vivastory Glad to hear that you're back home. I hope you have a relaxing weekend filled with great reads. 📚📚 1y
Megabooks @squirrelbrain it is! I‘ve had a rough day but glad to be home. 💜 (edited) 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen thanks! 😘 It was so nice to come home to. (edited) 1y
Megabooks @Bookwomble thank you! 💜 I‘m glad to be back. 1y
Megabooks @vivastory thanks! 👍🏻👍🏻 I hope to get a lot of reading done this weekend. 1y
BarbaraBB A Wharton is always good to start your recovery with. Take care ❤️ 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB today has been a massive struggle still dealing with a lot of stomach pain. I remembered earlier tonight that when this happened 7 years ago, I nearly went back to the hospital the next day. Going to try to sleep it out tonight and hope for a better tomorrow. 💜 1y
Cinfhen What was the cause/ trigger/ treatment last time u had this terrible flare up?? I pray you find comfort and sleep. Thinking of you xxx 1y
batsy Have a nice, relaxing time easing back into your home routine. That's a gorgeous edition of the Wharton 😍 Was just mentioning it to @EvieBee 🙂 1y
Cathythoughts Beautiful edition of Wharton. I loved that book. Take care ❤️❤️❤️ 1y
Cathythoughts Just catching up , sorry to hear you were in hospital, glad to hear you‘re home Meg X 1y
BarbaraBB How are you feeling today Meg? I hope a bit better again. Take care 🍀 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB I am finally feeling better in the last couple of hours. Thank God! No idea why this happened, but I just sent all my records to my doc in Nashville, so maybe she can figure something out. 🤞🏻🤞🏻 Thank you both for checking in 😘😘 1y
EvieBee @batsy She‘s a beaut! 1y
Megabooks @EvieBee @batsy it is so pretty, and I‘m a sucker for some three-dimensionality too! 1y
Megabooks @Cathythoughts thanks Cathy! I‘m glad to be feeling better. 💜💜 1y
90 likes21 comments
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EvieBee
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I preordered this months ago and it released today! Prettier than I thought it‘d be. Can‘t wait to start it! #bookmail

IndoorDame Wow! In love with this cover art! 1y
MicheleinPhilly Gosh, that is GORGEOUS! 1y
EvieBee @IndoorDame @MicheleinPhilly I think you need it too! Here‘s the isbn: 9780143137214 1y
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IndoorDame @EvieBee ooh, thank you! 1y
MicheleinPhilly You are evil. Thank you! 😂 1y
Aims42 That‘s gorgeous!! Thank you for including the ISBN 😁 1y
Aimeesue Ooooh, pritty! I love the Penguin deluxe classics. French flaps get me every time. 1y
jlhammar That cover!! 💜 1y
CarolynM That‘s a great cover! I enjoyed this one a lot. Hope you do too. 1y
batsy So pretty! The Vitae edition is so gorgeous, as well. 1y
MaureenMc 😍 1y
Tamra What a cover! 1y
EvieBee @IndoorDame You‘re welcome! 1y
EvieBee @Aims42 @Aimeesue You‘re welcome! Every inch of the cover has art. Front, back and both flaps. 1y
EvieBee @jlhammar I loved it online but didn‘t expect it to be so vibrant! 1y
EvieBee @CarolynM I really like Wharton but have only read two books so hoping to complete this one by the end of the year! 1y
EvieBee @batsy Oh no! I think I have to check that one out! 😂 (edited) 1y
EvieBee @MaureenMc @Tamra Thank you! 💕 1y
tpixie Gorgeous cover! #coverart 1y
DivineDiana That is a pretty one! Cover love! Now, I need it too! 💖 1y
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review
Cathythoughts
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Pickpick

I‘m a bit late finishing and missed the last part of the discussion, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Undine is a great character… even though the book ended , I‘d say Undine has a lot of changes left in her life yet. Constantly grasping for the next best thing she can imagine. Such a superficial existence is frightening.
#Whartonbuddyread @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Thankyou for the discussions and your insights.

Graywacke Congrats on finishing. Sounds like you‘re another reader seeking a sequel. 🙂 2y
CarolynM You‘re right, I am sure she would never “settle down”, she would always be doing things that cause ructions around her. 2y
Cathythoughts @Graywacke Thanks 👍🏻❤️ 2y
Cathythoughts @CarolynM Yes! She can‘t settle or relax ever. 2y
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review
Graywacke
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Pickpick

Some pearls for this one.

Wharton created a magnificent villain. Undine Spragg is a stunningly beautiful young girl who cannot be satisfied. She is relentless in pursuit of whatever she thinks she wants. And it‘s never enough; and nothing, nor anyone, is sacred. But what does she wants and why? And why doesn‘t there seem to be anything underneath? She is an allegory of our financial world, the perfect goddess of soulless economy. 👇

Graywacke The novel isn‘t perfect IMO, but Undine is a Wharton masterpiece. 2y
CarolynM Great review, and wonderfully appropriate picture. I won‘t forget Undine in a hurry! 2y
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batsy Undine is a fantastic creation, from what I recall. Nicely put in your review! 2y
AnnR @Graywacke Great review and I agree with much of your thoughts, especially the comment about a 'soulless economy.' Well said!

Wharton is a great character driven writer. On the other hand, I was incredibly put off by 99% of the characters, so this was a tough reading experience for me. I don't mind flawed characters but I'm also one of those readers who needs someone to cheer on. Anyway, I hope that makes sense.
2y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads completely understand. I‘m trying to think of any Wharton characters that are likable and not abused by her. Fruit of the Tree is maybe the least brutal in character attacks from what i‘ve read…but still the subtext is very critical. 2y
Cathythoughts Brilliant review! Undine is indeed a masterpiece of a character, well said 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 2y
Graywacke Thanks. ☺️ Undine is such a memorable force of nature. 2y
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review
CarolynM
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Pickpick

A close-up look at the career of a shameless social climber as she seeks to be a central figure in every new grouping of society that comes to her attention, finds she doesn‘t much like the group once she‘s in it and leaves a trail of distress (both financial and emotional) in her wake. Modern parallels abound. Thanks to @Lcsmcat @Graywacke and all the other #WhartonBuddyRead -ers for the interesting discussions.

Leftcoastzen Great review! 2y
YasmiNova Ooh this one sounds interesting, stacking! 2y
LeahBergen I haven‘t read this Wharton yet. I must get to it! 2y
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batsy Nice review! I read this awhile ago and really enjoyed it. Wanted to join the group read but got distracted by other books, as always 😅 2y
CarolynM @Leftcoastzen Thank you ☺️ (edited) 2y
CarolynM @YasmiNova @LeahBergen It‘s a good one. Enjoy! 2y
CarolynM @batsy Thanks 😊 I‘m sorry you didn‘t join in this time, I‘d have liked to hear your thoughts on it. 2y
Cathythoughts Nice review! You sum it up perfectly. I really enjoyed this one 👍🏻 2y
CarolynM @Cathythoughts Thanks Cathy😘 I enjoyed it a lot too, but Undine made me quite angry at times! 2y
Rissreads Stacked! Such a beautiful cover! 💜 1y
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Currey
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Here is another option for The Gray Boy by Van Dyke - although I guess it is more of a gray dog…he at least looks more lost in a way that Paul could identify with.

Lcsmcat I think you found it! Good job!! He looks just like I picture Paul. 2y
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Lcsmcat
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We‘ve all been concerned for Paul, and we get a lot more of his point of view in this book than any of the others. Poor chap! I couldn‘t find a Van Dyke called Gray Boy, but this is his Charles II as a Boy, and I think it fits. (I envision Paul growing up to be the writer his father wasn‘t, drawing on his unhappy childhood.) Did anyone grow? What is the overall message here? Do you loath Undine, pity her, or both? #whartonbuddyread

jewright I hated her when I closed the book, but the more I thought about it, I feel sorry for her. She was ill-equipped to understand life. She is rather stupid. She just wants to have fun because she‘s immature. Do you think she‘s a narcissist? I can‘t imagine not loving your son. She can‘t manage to be content ever. I do think they are well matched at the end. Her parents should have just let her stay married the first time and saved everyone grief! 2y
Graywacke Did anyone else find the last book really slow? 2y
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Lcsmcat @jewright Yes! How many lives would be better had she stayed married to Moffatt! But I‘m thinking she‘d have kept him from getting ahead as he did by her actions. 2y
Graywacke I didn‘t love the last book, which I felt dragged out the obvious. But i do like Undine as a terrible character. I haven‘t read the Great Gatsby since high school, but Undine seems like a pre-Gatsby Daisy, with Moffatt a pre-Gatsby Gatsby. And we get Daisy‘s perspective, or maybe FSF gave us Moffatt‘s. Anyway the two books are doing some of the same things regarding soulless finances. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Hmm. I thought it went quickly, but it did feel like “wrap up” rather than “advance” so maybe that‘s what you were feeling. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @jewright could Moffatt have managed her all those years of being broke? 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat well, I was wondering if it was just me, struggling. It was fine, just seemed like maybe a 5-page epilogue could have had about the same impact. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Yes, there‘s a condemnation of every character one way or another. And Gatsby is an apt comparison. 2y
Currey @Graywacke. I agree, I could have gone with just less to wrap up. And totally agree that Undine would not have put up with Moffatt when he was down and out. She doesn‘t really even like him now. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think it needed more than an epilogue to really get us inside Paul‘s head. I want a sequel showing how his life turns out well in spite of all the adults around him. 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey @Graywacke Yes, U would have gotten rid of Moffatt herself if her parents hadn‘t done it for her. She has no ability to delay gratification. She‘d have totally failed the marshmallow experiment! 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat In terms of growth, Moffatt does appear to have learned a thing or two about himself and others (and he has developed an eye for beautiful things) but Undine crystallized into her perfectly horrible self. Great character. 2y
jewright @Currey I‘m not sure Undine is capable of affection for anyone. 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat I don‘t know. I see Paul as perpetually lost and bewildered even into adulthood. Who would teach him any survival skills or the particular insight into people you need to be a writer? 2y
jewright @Graywacke I like this comparison! The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite novels. Ralph is a better man than Tom though which makes Daisy more sympathetic. Daisy couldn‘t wait for Gatsby to make money, and Undine probably would have been the same way with Moffat. (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey Survival skills he may be on his own for. But when he realized (at 9!) that his mother lied about things, I saw in him an ability to be a detached observer of human behavior. That plus his desire to be always reading could make an author out of him. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Paul was definitely the best part of book 5. And Heeney. ( imagine if book 5 is only Paul‘s 9-yr-old section in his new home with Moffatt and some tapestries. And the book ends. Do we lose something? 🙂 ) 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think we would. The final paragraph (quoted below) is incredibly powerful. 2y
Lcsmcat “But under all the dazzle a tiny black cloud remained. She had learned that there was something she could never get, something that neither beauty nor influence nor millions could ever buy for her. She could never be an Ambassador‘s wife; and as she advanced to welcome her first guests she said to herself that it was the one part she was really made for.” 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you sound ready for the sequel. 🙂 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke If written by the right author, absolutely! Maybe Jane Smiley or Ann Patchett would take it on. 😄 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Patchett might say she already wrote The Dutch House, she just skipped a few generations. 🙂 Wonder how Aly Smith might handle it. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I was thinking Dutch House when I said that. 😀 And Smiley is excellent at family sagas. Smith might manage it, too, but it would be a very different book. 2y
AnnR I still find Undine to be a despicable character, with few (if any) redeeming qualities. The only character I felt compassion for was her son. Otherwise I thought most of the adults were also complicit and caught up in that chasing wealth and possessions lifestyle. Wharton's characterization was excellent, but this story didn't have a character for me to cheer on or empathize with. That made it a tough read for me. 2y
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads There are few people to admire, but I still loved Wharton‘s prose. And sometimes a character you love to hate is fun too. But Undine is despicable, if pitiable. Because she will never be happy. 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke I love Patchett but have not read Dutch House but it is on my TBR shelf. I guess I will reAd it as the sequel 2y
Leftcoastzen Undine shallow ,status, & money grubbing till the end ! In our conversations we speak of her as modern , not in a positive way.It stood out to me she sends Paul telegrams of their movements, wouldn‘t feel guilt or feel the need to write her son a letter!I feel Paul does have his own stories to tell , you just hope he finds an adult mentor so he doesn‘t go off the rails. 2y
Graywacke @Currey it‘s an imperfect fit, but works in a big picture kind of way. 2y
Graywacke So, my edition had this reference: - Felicitous Space: The Imaginative structures of Edith Wharton and Willa Cather by Judith Fryer (1986) 2y
Leftcoastzen A fine book filled with characters that are very unlikable , Wharton gets her digs in with dark humor at times about this very entitled segment of society & those who want to join it.I liked that Moffatt grew in liking the finer things! 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Interesting book reference. Are you planning on reading it? 2y
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen If Undine lived today would she only text her son? Or is even that too much. Maybe just tag him in a Facebook post. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I‘m thinking about Felicitous Space. I wouldn‘t read it right away, but maybe down the road. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I imagine Undine would have wonderful pictures of her and Paul on fb. @Leftcoastzen (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke If you do, give me enough notice to find a copy and I‘ll join you. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat 😂you read my mind! “K!👋 (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @Leftcoastzen The instagram pics would be perfect. She‘d be an “influencer”! 😂 2y
sarahbellum @Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen For sure Undine would be an influencer on Instagram and would use that has an excuse for service workers to treat her special. “Don‘t you know how many followers I have??” 😂🤦🏻‍♀️ 2y
sarahbellum It felt very fitting for Moffat and Undine to get back together- they can make each other miserable with their inexhaustible greed and leave everyone else in peace 😮‍💨 2y
CarolynM I absolutely loathed Undine - so shallow and so monumentally self absorbed. She was never going to be satisfied. How long do you want think Moffat was going to put up with her? His comment to Paul about keeping each other warm was very telling. Poor Paul. I like to think he might be reunited with his French father one day - maybe return those tapestries? 2y
CarolynM @Graywacke Interesting comparison with Gatsby. I agree with @jewright about Ralph v Tom and how that reflects on Daisy. I was thinking about it in comparison to The House of Mirth. Undine is kind of the inverse of Lily Bart. 2y
Lcsmcat @CarolynM Yes, in the sequel Paul should reunite with French Papa, return the tapestries, and live happily ever after. 😂 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum They should definitely refrain from making anyone else miserable. That comment was very telling. 2y
Graywacke @CarolynM i had reverse HoM vibes too. Especially in Book III when Undine invited the broke Moffatt to her singles home in Paris - it was so like Lily and Selden in the opening see of HoM, and also so different. 2y
Louise So sorry to have missed the last couple of discussions. Will try to keep up when we read the next book! 2y
31 likes47 comments
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Lcsmcat
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This week was all about Ralph. I feel like we got into his head more in this section than we have previously. I‘ll post some “open” quotes, but will put my main thoughts under a spoiler tag for anyone who hasn‘t finished the section. #whartonbuddyread

Lcsmcat Poor Paul! Could his father have done anything worse? 2y
Lcsmcat About Ralph. “Then, gradually, he saw that the weakness was innate in him. He had been eloquent enough, in his free youth, against the conventions of his class; yet when the moment came to show his contempt for them they had mysteriously mastered him,” 2y
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Lcsmcat “He seemed to be stumbling about in his inherited prejudices like a modern man in mediaeval armour…” 2y
Graywacke This was a really difficult section to read. We mostly know what‘s going to happen (at least until Moffatt came clean), and yet we have to march through it. 2y
Graywacke Per your question, Ralph was just not up for this kind of fight. Ironically he has a law degree. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I had forgotten about the law degree! That makes his handling of the whole divorce even worse. He should have known better. 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat I had marked the “He seemed to be stumbling…” quote also. This was a difficult read but I actually preferred to be with the character Ralph than with Undine and therefore enjoyed the reading 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke I particularly enjoyed the unfolding of Moffat‘s scheme. So well crafted. Wharton‘s craft that is, not Moffatt 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat @Graywacke What did you think of Clare in this section? A number of snide remarks thrown in this section along side the praises. 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey Wharton did an excellent job of timing the Moffatt reveal! 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey Re Clare, I think Wharton is just as critical of her as she is of her husband and Ralph. She‘s also a weak character who is ruled by the traditions of her class. W makes several digs at her intelligence. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Currey but Claire is so pleasant when silent. 🙂 2y
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat so i read Moffatt‘s reveal and started to read Ralph‘s stumble home and put the book down and went to work. Then it struck me. Moffatt has given Ralph leverage. Maybe worth the $50k. Ralph can use the threat of exposing her first marriage against Undine. It‘s such a gift! So I picked the book back up that evening thinking, go get em Ralphie. Of course, he did not. 2y
Currey @Graywacke Yes, I read straight through so my thinking along that line only lasted a few minutes but it did cause a surge of hope, only to be dashed on the rocks 2y
Currey @Graywacke 😂 re Clare 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke @currey I had the same thought! “Give me Paul or I totally blow your chances with the Count.” If he‘d used his legal training. 🙄 2y
Lcsmcat I forgot to credit the picture. It‘s “unsigned 18th century German school” detail of a Nobleman. 2y
rubyslippersreads I am way, way behind, but will comment when I catch up. 2y
Cathythoughts @Currey That Moffat reveal floored me ! @Lcsmcat @Graywacke I know we are not reading Wharton for the happy ending … but come on Ralph with your law degree 🤷🏼‍♀️ you have no other options !!??!! Raging with Ralph, not sure if he‘s done the deed yet .. but it looks like he did. I‘m finding Clare annoying now too .. someone needs to step up here for Paul .. 2y
sarahbellum Ralph! 💔 Paul! 💔 @Currey I kept wondering what Van Degen saw in Clare- she must have been quite the catch for him to give up his bachelorhood. She doesn‘t have money, so looks/charms? Now I think he chose her b/c, as @Lcsmcat said, she‘s too wrapped up in tradition to leave him for continuing to act the bachelor. All he was looking for was the veneer of respectability. Kinda feel bad for Clare, but I think her quest for money was just as shallow 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum I think Van Degen was after a conventional, respectable marriage more than any personal qualities in a wife. And Clare was similar. 2y
Leftcoastzen I could feel myself getting irritated when Ralph was placating everyone. Meaning he gave a thought to being more forceful about Paul before Undine pulled that stunt about wanting him.yet more attention in the papers , avoiding gossip or more scandal was something his family feared so he was passive.You would think after all her stunts they could tell something like that could happen despite her consistent lack of interest in her son. 2y
Leftcoastzen Wharton is so skillful at writing these characters. The Moffat reveal was more than Ralph could handle. 2y
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen yes, on Ralph‘s response. It was more. (No place for poetry on this cutthroat world) … side note, I wonder what he was writing. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke Oh my gosh, me too! Did I miss any hints? I guess EW didn‘t want a subplot,so just mentions of him working on it and/or making progress on his writing. 2y
Graywacke @Leftcoastzen I couldn‘t pick up anything. He clearly needed to be in a good mood to write. Some I‘m guessing nothing dark…despite Undine‘s scars. 2y
jewright It‘s as if Ralph just has no fight in him. His one plan doesn‘t work out, so he just gives up. 2y
Lcsmcat @jewright I feel like his upbringing and education didn‘t prepare him for the world he had to live in, or give him the personal resources to change with the times. 2y
CarolynM I‘m just catching up. I was shocked by the end of Part IV! It came out of nowhere but I guess in a twisted way it was consistent with the Marvell family‘s ideas of honour. What a terrible position it leaves them all in, particularly poor Paul. Like @Graywacke & @Currey I thought Moffatt had provided the perfect way protect Paul from Undine - I knew there was something there that would discredit U, but I was thinking of a more spectacular disgrace 2y
30 likes30 comments
review
sarahbellum
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Pickpick

As appalling as Undine‘s behavior was, I was drawn in by the superb writing, character studies, social commentary, and world building. I can‘t say that I loved this book, but I have a deep appreciation for the skill needed to make me not chuck the book across the room when Undine played people like pawns for her greedy, selfish, social climber lifestyle.

sarahbellum I read Ethan Frome in high school and really disliked it, so I was grateful for the opportunity to revisit Wharton as an adult with #whartonbuddyread. Sorry for finishing early 🙃 2y
tokorowilliamwallace Interesting, and I just started Heather Graham's King James era historical romantic fantasy suspense, Ondine last night. 2y
Cathythoughts Great review! I‘m loving it , nearly finished 👍🏻 (edited) 2y
51 likes3 comments
blurb
Lcsmcat
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Divorce in South Dakota (who knew?) dragging her parents around Europe, being befriended by a princess only to find out she was being used as a “shield” and being shamed for leaving her child by someone without shame. How low can she go?? I‘m at a conference but I‘ll check in on comments as I can. #whartonbuddyread

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Lcsmcat Sorry for the triple post! Bad WiFi!! The picture is by EduardoLeon Garrido 2y
Graywacke Thanks for sneaking this in on a busy day! Ever since I finished book 3 i‘ve stunned on what‘s maybe going to happen to or over Paul. I‘m surprised Undie took such a misstep as she did, getting herself stranded. 2y
Cathythoughts Thanks , you‘re really busy. I hope it‘s a good conference. Like @Graywacke I‘m looking at Paul. I‘m hoping he won‘t becomea pawn in Undine‘s games. She‘s struggling she is being used as a pawn herself… only she‘s on to it now. Again we are left in suspense. It‘s good to see Mr. Spagg has a bit of a conscience, he can be kind. Will Undine inherit some kindness ? The detail ,the wisdom , in the writing e. g. ..‘ the tonic effect of silence‘ 2y
jewright I‘ve decided Undine has no true feelings for anyone! She‘s so selfish! I feel so badly for Paul, but I‘m glad Mrs. Spragg will be able to see him. 2y
Louise Reading friends, I‘m behind in reading (flattened by some kind of seasonal bug) but will try to catch up for next time. Based on your comments, it sounds like Undine is staying true to character in her relentless pursuit of wealth and social standing! 2y
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts @Graywacke Paul is the true victim of her selfishness, isn‘t he? Everyone else either had a hand in creating it or could have avoided it. 2y
sarahbellum For anyone interested in learning more about the South Dakota divorce mill: https://historyofyesterday.com/when-south-dakota-was-americas-divorce-capitol-53... 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. 2y
sarahbellum Undie‘s sense of entitlement and belief that money fixes everything feel so modern to me. She would have been amazing at running MLMs 😂 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum 😂😂😂 2y
Graywacke @sarahbellum How interesting about Dakota. And I agree about Undie. If you could just direct her to a task you wanted done, she‘s relentless and not going to be slowed by compassion or even consideration. She‘s a kind of monster, but a very 20th-century kind. 2y
Graywacke @Cathythoughts Mr Spragg continues to interest me. I think he has less conscience than he presents, but he does build relationships. 2y
Graywacke @jewright agree about Undine and Paul and Leota Spragg. 2y
Graywacke Can you imagine Undine Spragg as a customer service rep? Sorry, I‘m having a moment envisioning really needing help and having her answering the phone. 2y
llwheeler @Graywacke a monster but a very 20th century one is a great description of her 2y
Currey Had a crazy day today but am caught in reading. Like others, I am truly concerned about Paul and yet thankful to Wharton for not giving me his point of view, which I doubt I could take. Surprised also that Undine took the risk of leaving to South Dakota without her “catch”. I enjoyed that “degenerate” saw that Undine ignoring Ralph when he was ill, did not bode well for his own future. A small insight I would not have credited to him. (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey I think I would credit that insight to “Degenerate.” Because he‘s all about his own comfort and convenience. 🙄 2y
Currey @lcsmcat Ah, good point. He was just looking to a future where she took care of him? 2y
Currey @graywacke had to laugh at the thought of Undine as a customer representative…. (edited) 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yeah, that. On Degen(erate) 2y
Graywacke @Currey i know! 😄 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey At least, she would take care of him if he wanted her to. He‘d dump her later just as quickly as he dumped her now. 2y
CarolynM Paul - I lost all sympathy for U when she forgot his birthday and really didn‘t care that she had. He is absolutely her ultimate victim @Cathythoughts @Graywacke I can‘t believe she will actually claim him, but I can absolutely see her threatening to do so to get money from the Marvels as Moffat suggested. I think her monstrous greed is not so much modern as a constant human foible @sarahbellum (& thanks for that link! ) 2y
Lcsmcat Finally able to post some quotes that really show U as she is. “that image of herself in other minds which was her only notion of self-seeing.” 2y
Lcsmcat “It never occurred to her that other people‘s lives went on when they were out of her range of vision, and she tried in vain to remember what she had last heard of Moffatt.” 2y
Lcsmcat “but though Moffatt was clearly pleased to be with her she saw that she was not the centre of his thoughts, and the discovery irritated her.” 2y
CarolynM ☝️Also, I don‘t think money is the only thing U is after. I think she wants to join a social circle she admires & become its centre without changing her attitudes or behaviours - utterly unrealistic. I don‘t think Van Degen had any intention to divorce, let alone marry U. I suspect he simply dropped her once he felt the pressure from her was too great & her behaviour towards Ralph was a very convenient excuse for him to give to Indiana @Currey 2y
CarolynM I‘m wondering how far Chelles will string her along, and also what further part Moffat is going to play. 2y
Lcsmcat @CarolynM I agree that U is more about power than money, and the only power she can conceive of is social power. And Moffatt does seem to pop up whenever the drama gets high. It will be interesting to see what he does next. 2y
Leftcoastzen @sarahbellum thanks for posting the article about the Divorce mill ! Fascinating! 2y
Leftcoastzen Undine just keeps clawing her way to what she wants, now she‘s seeing the consequences. EG: a divorce not being ok with Catholics thus trying for an annulment. I think about poor Paul and like @Currey don‘t think I could handle reading from Paul‘s point of view. 2y
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blurb
Lcsmcat
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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While everything is always (in her mind) all about Undine, Book 2 seemed to be about the various types of men orbiting around her. We get more details on Moffatt, Van Degen, and Bowen, and a new French aristocrat joins the party. (Funny side note - autocorrect tried to change Van Degen into the French word for degenerate. Wharton‘s intention perhaps?) Lots of social commentary in this section too. Thoughts? #whartonbuddyread

Currey @lcsmcat “Mrs Marvell‘s classification of the world into the visited and unvisited was as obsolete as a medieval cosmogony. Some of those whom Washington Square left unvisited were the center of social systems far outside it‘s Ken, and as indifferent to its opinions as the constellations to the reckonings of the astronomers; and all these systems joyously revolved about their central Sun of gold.” 2y
Currey @lcsmcat In regards commentary, I particularly enjoyed Charles Bowen and Mrs FairFord‘s chat about it being the custom of the country to not let women share in the business of living but to protect them from such ugly details such as finance. 2y
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Currey @Lcsmcat And my favorite quote of this reading: “If only everyone would do as she wished she would never be unreasonable.” 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey Yes! I highlighted that too. I have to confess that it reminded me of a certain teenager who lived in my house. 😂 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey Bowen seems almost like a Greek Chorus to me. Maybe because we see what he‘s seeing, but not much of how he‘s being seen? 2y
Lcsmcat One quote from Ralph‘s point of view: “He knew that “business” has created its own special morality;” I think we still have that for business but we‘ve lost the different personal morality. But I‘m feeling jaded and cynical this morning, so I‘m probably reading too much into it. 😏 2y
rubyslippersreads I‘m behind, but will catch up soon. Liking Undine less and less, though. 2y
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads She‘s difficult to like. Definitely not someone I‘d want to live with! 2y
Graywacke Love the quotes @Lcsmcat and @Currey 2y
Graywacke Degen - degenerate - How did I not make that connection? It‘s especially apt on light of social Darwinism Wharton is playing with. (The line that most struck me was Bowan describing Ralph as a evolutionary survival.) 2y
Graywacke I‘m really enjoying the novel. I keep wondering if Undine were a man, would we judge her differently. Heartless anyway. But we would value how practical and cunning she is, like we do her father. She is very much like him. And I can‘t help but wonder what led Dad to encourage Ralphie to let her go to Europe. Certainly to get away from Moffat. But also, I wonder if he was breaking ranks with Ralph and sticking with daughter, true family. 👇 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Calling Ralph a survival really made him seem pathetic, didn‘t it? 2y
Graywacke That is, I suspect Sprag was in tune with discarding Ralph. He saw Ralph has no business sense, and he heard his daughter say they were done, and he knows his daughter. I suspect he was working against Ralph there. Anyway, I found that interesting. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat maybe pathetic, but i felt more nuance and less disgust. Bowan isn‘t hard hearted. I think it was actually a little sympathetic, but from a remove. There is a aspect in the comment of seeing him as a fragile relic of a bygone era. Ralph is elegant, but has no chance in this no-sentiments world. 2y
Currey @Graywacke Yes, I was fascinated by the father‘s change of heart re: Ralph and his daughter going to Europe. I believe we will find out more soon on that front. 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat Love the idea of Bowen being the Greek chorus. He is one of the “degenerate” group but he seems very evolved in his philosophical thinking and in the care which he dedicates to watching the social animals all around him. He is also intuitive as well as intelligent. Interesting character. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I meant pathetic in the sense of pathos, not eliciting disgust. I should have been more clear. I feel for Ralph, but feel like he‘s now in a no-win situation. 2y
Currey @Grawacke @Lcsmcat I have to admit that I would like Ralph to redeem himself somehow but if he is the culmination of the upper class losing their ability to walk on two feet then I would guess that Wharton can‘t let that happen… 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke re: Mr. Spragg and U as a man, I don‘t think I would feel any differently towards her, but then I don‘t admire her father. 🤷🏻‍♀️ While his “business ethics” seem a little better than Moffatt‘s, they‘re still not just-plain-ethics and I feel like his first big break back in Apex was shady. There‘s talk of him being “protected” and such. I‘ll hunt for the quote. 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke “Undine suspected that his breach with his old political ally, the Representative Rolliver who had seen him through the muddiest reaches of the Pure Water Move, was not unconnected with his failure to get a footing in Wall Street.” 2y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke the “muddiest reaches” bit, especially juxtaposed with “pure water” makes me think it was not all above board. 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey I wondered about Mr. Spragg‘s abrupt change of heart too, but I suspect he‘s still afraid of Moffatt, for some reason other than Undine‘s morality. 2y
AnnR As I continue reading, I'm reminded that religious beliefs still played a big role in relationship decisions among the upper classes during the latter part of the 1800s and early 1900s. However, Undine has no qualms about casting aside her tenuous religiosity, especially when it stands in the way of her achieving further marriage and social conquests. I keep looking for some redeemable quality in her character but am having problems finding one. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yes, misunderstood your meaning with pathetic. It‘s works to as you intended it to mean. Sorry. 🙂 And I think there is no question Spragg is dirty. We don‘t know exactly how he works, but everything looks iffy and manipulative. He‘s making money, damn the ethics. (Nonetheless, I can‘t help admiring his calculating practicality. He‘s brilliant in his own way.) 2y
Graywacke @Ann_Reads she says to van degen(erate) that she wishes she had had religion. It‘s something she feels she doesn‘t have. I hate and admire Undine. She‘s relentless and calculating. (I imagine she would bend religion around her will too - if only it would work as she wished, she wouldn‘t be so unreasonably unreligious? ) Also, I think Wharton is saying Undine has no real soul. 🙂 And Wharton suggests that‘s the best way to manage this world. 2y
AnnR @Graywacke Well, stated! Even though Undine isn't very religious, she is still bound by certain religious mores when it comes to the “social acceptance“ of some of her decisions. Very complicated. 2y
sarahbellum My take on Mr. Spragg changing his mind about Undine going to Europe: he realized her involving Moffatt was proof that there was no stopping her. If she was willing to throw Marvell to the wolves to get her way, he should support her before she resorts to further recklessness 2y
Leftcoastzen Love all the comments! I had appointments this A.M.so just finished. Poor Ralph is in over his head on all fronts . He‘s just your normal person of his class & wasn‘t ready for someone like Undine! I think Spragg is crooked as well. 2y
Leftcoastzen Undine is just so selfish & on the make ! It was easy to imagine she isn‘t too concerned with her son , but you would think she might take him to the birthday party to keep the peace with the family. 2y
CarolynM Such an interesting discussion in all of the above! I started off with sympathy for Undine, but I‘ve none left now. I‘m wondering what exactly it is that she‘s looking for? I suspect she doesn‘t know either. She‘s desperate to be accepted into the “best” society, but she doesn‘t seem to know what that is, or what it would require of her. She courts the men with her beauty but doesn‘t see that the women are arbiters of social acceptability. 2y
CarolynM Re Moffatt - I suspect there is a very deep secret there. The passage where Ralph becomes aware of her pregnancy seemed to indicate she knew a lot more experience than she might have been expected to - “Even in that moment of confusion he was struck by the cold competence of her tone, and wondered how she could be so sure.” 2y
Leftcoastzen @CarolynM I was thinking the same about Moffatt. 2y
Leftcoastzen Whartons unflattering descriptions of Van Degen leads me to believe Undine is somewhat repulsed by him , but what he can do for her is more important to her.She seems to be always climbing, her drive and greed never satisfied. Oh look , over there , a European Count! 2y
jewright I‘ve been trying to decide if Undine is so careless and demanding because that‘s her personality, or if it‘s because no one ever taught her anything or expected her to understand money. She definitely doesn‘t seem really to like her husband very much. 2y
Graywacke @CarolynM interesting catch, that line about “how she could be so sure”. What do we not know about her history? 2y
Graywacke @CarolynM @jewright I‘m also puzzled by what exactly it is Undine is looking for. It‘s always more, and there is always an aspect of trying to free herself of restrictions and commitments. But it does seem like she‘s after some evasive or not actually existent thing. (But I think there is a parallel in the economics. I think she‘s after the same thing that everyone trying to make _more_ money is after.) 2y
Graywacke (Random aside: I only just figured out that each “book” in the novel is ten chapters.) 2y
CarolynM @Graywacke Oh, that's a great point! That hunger that can't be satisfied no matter how much you have and different people try to satisfy it in different ways. I think it's about trying to fill a hole in yourself that you don't even realise is there. Maybe that also accounts for Ralph's wanting Undine - he is in endless pursuit of beauty. 2y
Graywacke @CarolynM I hadn‘t thought of Ralph that way. That‘s interesting. It‘s curious he‘s so level in all his judgments, yet Undine fooled him by play-acting the muse. 2y
Cathythoughts Yes , Degen ..degenerate..is a very interesting one @Graywacke.. I must watch out more for the meaning in Whartons name choices. What a complicated web Undine is weaving. I agree she is like her father , except the father has some redeeming qualities. @CarolynM I love your point about Ralph‘s endless pursuit of beauty. Also I I agree there is some secret past with Moffat that hopefully will be revealed soon. Also Bowen says old Undine ‘ shes👇 (edited) 2y
Cathythoughts 👆a monstrously perfect result of the system: the completest proof of its triumph. It‘s Ralph who‘s the victim and the exception‘ This is at the birthday party for Paul , that never happens. That poor child is the real victim, he is lost in it all. Undines extravagance with dresses and jewels in Paris really annoyed me. She‘s built up such an armour and a false personality. The society they live in , when the doctor prescribes for Undine ‘👇 (edited) 2y
Cathythoughts 👆a dash to Paris or London, just to tone up the nervous system‘ 🙄. @Leftcoastzen Agreed , Undine is selfish on another level , and poor little Paul. Really enjoying this book 👍🏻♥️ 2y
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts @Graywacke I think Bowen‘s conversation with Laura was attempting to explain that “hunger that can‘t be filled.” The custom of the country he called it, that women were to stay out of the way and be ornamental. Had Undine had a different kind of education; had Ralph looked for something other than beauty in a wife; had society permitted meaningful work for women, things might have been different. As selfish as she is 👇🏻 2y
Lcsmcat 👆🏻I can‘t help feeling thatUndine isn‘t entirely to blame for who she is. A different “custom of the country” a different paternal example, and she might have put her cleverness to better use. 2y
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I agree Undine is not entirely to blame for who she is ( I keep wondering how Paul will turn out ). One would hope that at some point Undine will realise the consequences of her actions. 2y
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Poor Paul! Does he even stand a chance?! 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts “monstrously perfect result of the system”: I loved Bowen‘s analysis but while reading felt it didn‘t apply to Undine. She‘s just congenitally programmed different. But after this discussion I can see it better now. Spragg‘s strength is he‘s after money, which we can understand. U could be the same! But instead she is kind of after the spending of money. She got misdirected by her societal expectation. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts yes, poor Paul. He doesn‘t have a mother. 2y
jewright @Cathythoughts The birthday party made me so sad! I love my kids‘ birthday parties, and it‘s a huge deal at our house. I can‘t imagine forgetting his birthday! I did relate to her comment about giving up a year of her life for the pregnancy. I love and wanted my kids, but between the pregnancy and recovery after birth, moms really do give up a year. 2y
Cathythoughts @jewright The birthday party made me sad too. I think pregnancy for some can be hugely challenging and difficult, and others sail through it. I suppose you just don‘t know how it will affect you. 2y
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat Where is this photo from ? It‘s intriguing. 2y
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts It‘s from the internet, I think from a stage production of the novel. (I should be more careful to attribute photos.) 2y
Cathythoughts It‘s a brilliant photo ! I love it. Well done 👍🏻 2y
Cathythoughts I‘d love to see a stage production! Imagine! 2y
rubyslippersreads @Ann_Reads @lcsmcat @Currey Undine is reminding me a bit of Scarlett in GWTW—always wanting her own way, casting aside any religion or social rules that don‘t further her cause, and of course all the men who find her irresistible. 2y
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads Very much like Scarlett!! 2y
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blurb
Leftcoastzen
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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The way she writes ! And , what Undine acknowledged she and Van Degen have in common! Really enjoying this.#WhartonBuddyRead

Lcsmcat That jumped out at me too! And, especially the not valuing anything you can‘t buy, very modern feeling. 2y
Graywacke Undine is more “modern” than anyone else in this novel. She takes after her father. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Right?! She‘s so predictable but the levels she takes it to ! 2y
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review
llwheeler
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Pickpick

I'm a terrible #whartonbuddyread participant, as I didn't have time for the discussion last weekend and now I've ignored the schedule and finished it. Really enjoyed this one!

Also, fairly sure whoever did the cover for this ebook edition didn't read the book... Who are those girls supposed to be? Presumably one is Undine, but the other?

Lcsmcat Good question! 2y
CarolynM I‘ve just finished Book 2 and I‘m just shaking my head. What a piece of work is Undine? You‘re right about the cover, not a reflection of the story at all. 2y
llwheeler @CarolynM she's definitely an unlikable character 2y
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blurb
Lcsmcat
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So what do you think of Undine? And who is Wharton being (more) critical of, the Invaders or the Invaded? I confess to liking Undine Spragg (what a name!) better this time around than the first time I read this book. She elicits more sympathy this time for being so clueless. The Stentorian Hotel (stentorian meaning brash, loud) makes me chuckle - if Wharton were writing today would she have put them in Trump Tower? 👇🏻

Lcsmcat 👆🏻because that was the first set of images that came up when I googled the description of Undine‘s sitting room. 😀 So instead, I chose this pink princess bedroom that Undine might have liked. Promised quotes below. (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat “The Spragg rooms were known as one of the Looey suites, and the drawing-room walls, above their wainscoting of highly-varnished mahogany, were hung with salmon-pink damask and adorned with oval portraits of Marie Antoinette and the Princess de Lamballe. In the centre of the florid carpet a gilt table with a top of Mexican onyx sustained a palm in a gilt basket tied with a pink bow.” 2y
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Lcsmcat “Mrs. Spragg herself wore as complete an air of detachment as if she had been a wax figure in a show-window. Her attire was fashionable enough to justify such a post, and her pale soft-cheeked face, with puffy eye-lids and drooping mouth, suggested a partially-melted wax figure which had run to double-chin.” (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat “Undine‘s white and gold bedroom, with sea-green panels and old rose carpet,” 2y
Lcsmcat “She wanted to surprise every one by her dash and originality, but she could not help modelling herself on the last person she met, and the confusion of ideals thus produced caused her much perturbation when she had to choose between two courses.” 2y
Lcsmcat [the groom] “had left Cracow under a charge of swindling servant-girls out of their savings; in the light of which discoveries Undine noticed for the first time that his lips were too red and that his hair was pommaded.” 2y
Lcsmcat “(Undine had noticed that they were all more or less cousins)” 2y
Lcsmcat At the Stentorian- “silently eating their way through a bill-of-fare which seemed to have ransacked the globe for gastronomic incompatibilities;” 2y
Lcsmcat Undine “was used to the homage of the streets and her vanity craved a choicer fare.” 2y
Lcsmcat “It was one of Mrs. Spragg‘s chief occupations to watch the nightly lighting of New York.” 2y
Lcsmcat “the other “guests” simply formed a cold impenetrable group who walked, boated, played golf, and discussed Christian Science and the Subliminal, unaware of the tremulous organism drifting helplessly against their rock-bound circle.” 2y
Lcsmcat “Undine blushed with anger at her own simplicity in fancying that he had been “taken” by her—that she could ever really count among these happy self-absorbed people!” 2y
Lcsmcat “As her imagination developed the details of the scene in the Van Degen dining-room it became clear to her that fashionable society was horribly immoral and that she could never really be happy in such a poisoned atmosphere. She remembered that an eminent divine was preaching a series of sermons against Social Corruption, and she determined to go and hear him on the following Sunday.” 2y
Lcsmcat Of Marvell - “For four or five generations it had been the rule of both houses that a young fellow should go to Columbia or Harvard, read law, and then lapse into more or less cultivated inaction.” 2y
Lcsmcat “he seemed to see her like a lovely rock-bound Andromeda, with the devouring monster Society careering up to make a mouthful of her; and himself whirling down on his winged horse—“ 2y
Leftcoastzen Wow ! You are up & running,I had a poor reading week , I am probably going to comment later today when I complete book 1. 2y
Cathythoughts That‘s a scream .. would they be in Trump tower 😆. Undine IS clueless, she‘s innocent enough, I don‘t know how it will all work out ( my first time reading ) .. and I‘m not too sure yet about Ralph Marvell and his cave ( I like him now at the start ). Great quotes! I must have a proper look at them. Apologies, I‘m heading out now on Granny duty, but will join in tomorrow. Loving the book 👍🏻♥️ 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat I can‘t say I am appreciating Undine. She is clueless yes, but also is terribly manipulative of her parents not unlike a 6 year old. Ralph also rather clueless in his own bubble. I did Love the dialogue between Mr Spragg and Mr Dragonet regarding Ralph‘s inability to work at any business 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey That was funny. Mr. Spragg has more of my sympathy than anyone else, so far. 2y
Currey @Lcsmcat Where are you imaging Apex is? Also I am intrigued by what exactly Elmer has on the Spraggs. Were they (gasp) engaged? 2y
Louise It‘s interesting that Wharton chose to name her main character Undine, which is the name for the elemental beings associated with water. In the way that water always takes the shape of its environment or “container”, Undine continuously tries to take on the ways of the social circles she aspires to belong in. I was struck by @lcsmcat ‘s observation that she feels more sympathy for Undine this time around due to Undine‘s cluelessness. 👇 2y
Louise I‘ve been reading the book aloud to my mother; and so often, we pause and exclaim, “Oh my gawwwd!” in response to Undine‘s actions or thoughts. We feel for poor Marvell, whose poetic soul is in for a crushing. We also re-read certain lines and passages, as Wharton‘s writing is so exquisite. She captures the social undercurrents brilliantly! (edited) 2y
Graywacke @Louise how interesting about Undine‘a name. Thanks! 2y
Lcsmcat @Louise Interesting observation about U‘s name. And I‘ve had the same eye-rolling reactions to her. So much like teenager drama when my kids were that age. Do we know how old she is at this point? 2y
Lcsmcat @Currey For some reason I think Apex is in Indiana, but I can‘t say why. I think it‘s only described as “middle west.” 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat love the quotes and your post. I struggled with Undine for a bit. Entertaining satire, but pages and pages. But once she interacts more with others, she becomes a literary spark. She is so unstable inside, she becomes an unpredictable lightning rod. So since halfway through book 1 have taken to this novel like none of her previous ones, or any book in a while. I just never know how she will react. (edited) 2y
Graywacke Marvell is a nice mix. A detached realism, giving him a less biased eye, graceful and true to himself except that he isn‘t aware of his quiet spoiled laxity. I liked his aboriginal comment. I think that he puts on a good show for someone useless. I like that he has stepped into an unpredictable whirlwind and has no idea. 2y
Louise @lcsmcat @Graywacke Re: Undine‘s name, it was hovering there in the back of my mind and only “came to me” this morning about the elemental beings. Until then, the word “undulating” often came to mind, as U‘s ideas shift and move so regularly. 👇 (edited) 2y
Louise Here‘s a quote from Wikipedia re: Undines: “According to Paracelsus and his subsequent followers, there are four categories of elementals, which are gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. These correspond to the four Empedoclean elements of antiquity: earth, water, air, and fire, respectively.” 2y
Lcsmcat @Louise That‘s great! I hadn‘t gone beyond Mrs. Spragg‘s comment “Why, we called her after a hair-waver father put on the market the week she was born—” 2y
Louise @Graywacke Love your observations about Marvell! “Quiet spoiled laxity. . . puts on a good show for someone useless.” 😂 I must say, I loved the passages about words flying through the trees like birds and so on. One gets a picture of a world made of words, which might be how Edith Wharton saw it sometimes. 2y
Louise @lcsmcat How amazing that Wharton used the term “hair-waver”! She kept the water image in such a tiny detail! Thanks for reminding me of that. 2y
Louise Oh, sorry! The passages about words in the trees are in Book 2. 🤭🤦🏻‍♀️ 2y
Louise My brother mentioned that, in an interview about his adaptation of The Age Of Innocence, Martin Scorsese said it was the most violent film he‘d ever made. I think we‘re going to see quite a bit of that quiet violence in this book, too! 😳 😆 2y
arubabookwoman Oh my! This totally slipped my mind. I will catch up and join in next week. 2y
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @louise hair-waver … water. 🙂 2y
Graywacke @Louise i was sad I thinking I had read and forgotten the words on trees lines. Now I have something to look for! 🙂 2y
Louise @Graywacke Thanks for putting a nice spin on my blunder! The passages about words are definitely something to look forward to! 2y
Graywacke @Louise some blunders are better than others. No worries here in this crew, regardless. (But I am now really excited to get to those passages! ☺️) 2y
AnnR In response to the question @Lcsmcat posted;
For the chapters I've read so far, Wharton seems more critical of the invaders, although she does show some sympathy for the Spragg's ignorance. (Wasn't Wharton from old money?) Maybe it would be more accurate for me to say Wharton puts the men Undine catches in her web, in a more sympathetic light. That's my initial impression, which might change later on.

2y
rubyslippersreads This is absolutely fascinating, although I‘m having a hard time finding anything to like about Undine. I feel sorry for her parents, but they made her what she is. 😏 2y
Lcsmcat @Ann_Reads Wharton was from old money. But she seems to cast a jaundiced eye on their way of life, so I wonder if her personal life was making her more sympathetic to the Invaders. 2y
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads They did kind of create a monster. Although as a parent I refuse to put the blame totally on them because I don‘t want to be blamed for my (grown) kids‘ behavior. 😂 2y
AnnR I'm really enjoying reading all the quotes and comments above. Actually, I haven't read any of Wharton books before because I'm generally put off by novels about the Gilded Age and the focus on elitism. (I think a lot of it hits too close to home now with what's happening in some parts of US 'big business' and political realm.) My reaction to Undine's personality isn't pleasant but I am enjoying Wharton's writing and characterization. 2y
sarahbellum Undine is giving me a lot of Veruca Salt vibes (“I want it now!” *stomp*) and I can‘t help but smile when those close to her call her Undie 😆. For all their superior feelings, I‘m surprised the Marvells haven‘t seen through Undine (yet?) and discovered that she aspires to be Queen of the Invaders 👸🏻 (edited) 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum 😂😂Veruca Salt😂😂 2y
TEArificbooks I read book 1 a few days ago, and so already forgot everything I read. Not much happened. I had to flip through and read the thread to remember. Undine is definitely spoiled with her parents wrapped around her finger. I see some foreshadowing that Undine will have a unhappy marriage or despite the marriage not be accepted in the “set” she wants to be associated with. 2y
Currey @mdm139 I laughed when I read your comment. I have gotten foreshadowing of death and destruction…Undine seems ready to ignite at any moment. However, I agree that unhappy marriage will be in there somewhere also! 2y
Leftcoastzen I‘m with @rubyslippersreads the Spraggs spoiled that girl rotten! Undone is determined as she is clueless, when she gets to the dinner party & doesn‘t know what to talk about , she definitely applies herself by going out to look at the” pictures” there are many times I laughed about her antics.I also suspected there was something/someone lurking in her past in Apex. 2y
Leftcoastzen I love that quote about Mrs.Spragg watching the lighting of New York ! I could almost picture it. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Louise I think it‘s great you are reading it with your mother! If my mom lived closer , I would share it with her. 2y
Louise @Leftcoastzen It‘s so kind of you to mention that. I am my mom‘s caregiver, as she has some dementia. She has always been a big reader but finds reading a bit challenging right now, so I read to her everyday. It‘s a beautiful way to spend time together, and I am experiencing books in a different way by speaking them out loud. One hears the cadence and lyricism in a new way. 💗 2y
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen It‘s vivid, and very sad. She‘s stuck there with no friends. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Louise Wow , that‘s pretty hard .I‘m so glad you & your mom can find something to continue to bring some joy in a challenging situation.Bless you both. 2y
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat Yes, you can feel her sadness! 2y
Louise @Leftcoastzen Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, reading together in this way really does add joy to our day. ❤️ 2y
CarolynM I haven't started yet. I will come back to these comments when I've read book 1 and hopefully catch up with you all next week. 2y
Graywacke @sarahbellum i had to Google Veruca Salt. 😊 (and had to figure out you didn‘t mean the band named after her) 2y
sarahbellum @Graywacke I read a lot of Roald Dahl growing up 🙃 2y
Cathythoughts @Louise That is interesting about Undines name ! .. @Lcsmcat I hadnt gone any further than the hair-waver either. 2y
Cathythoughts @Louise How lovely to read this to / with your Mother ♥️. Also your brothers mention of Scorsese and The Age Of Innocence … we must be in for some terrible heartbreak so 💔 2y
Louise @Cathythoughts Thanks for your comments. It really is lovely to read to/with my mom. It‘s probably therapeutic as well, as the brain creates pictures in response to the story; and this type of stimulation is very good for people with dementia. My mom is a long-time fan of Wharton. Re: the Scorsese anecdote, it‘s amazing how Wharton portrays the subtle “one-upsmanships”, manipulations, and quiet battles between people. Violence indeed! (edited) 2y
AnnR @sarahbellum LOL! We just watched the (1971) Charlie and Chocolate Factory movie Saturday evening. Undine definitely has a Veruca vibe to her. I suspect there isn't a bad egg Exicator in Wharton's novel though. 2y
sarahbellum @Ann_Reads if only! 🥚 2y
rubyslippersreads @Lcsmcat And her father does kind of try to rein her in (for all the good it does). 2y
rubyslippersreads @Louise I ❤️ that you‘re reading it with your mom. 2y
Louise @rubyslippersreads Thanks. We‘re enjoying reading it together and talking about it. 💗 2y
30 likes68 comments
blurb
LitsyEvents
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Lcsmcat Thanks for sharing! 2y
39 likes1 comment
quote
Cathythoughts
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‘Presently her attention was drawn to a lady in black who was examining the pictures through a tortoise-shell eye-glass adorned with diamonds and hanging from a long pearl chain. Undine was instantly struck by the opportunities which this toy presented for graceful wrist movements and supercilious turns of the head ‘

Book One , Oh Undine I see trouble ahead
Enjoying this one
#WhartonBuddyRead

Beautiful edition from Paula @Centique Thankyou ♥️

DivineDiana I love that description! And it is a beautiful cover! 2y
Cathythoughts @DivineDiana I‘m so enjoying Edith Wharton. It feels like a comfort read to me. 2y
Graywacke Terrific quote, says so much. It took me 40 pages, but I‘m completely taken in. I finished Book 1 yesterday evening. 2y
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Cathythoughts @Graywacke I‘m all in as well. I love her insights into NY at that time and her writing ♥️ 2y
Graywacke @Cathythoughts the aboriginal (as in old moneyed New Yorkers) comments made me smile. 2y
Lcsmcat I‘m really enjoying this reread, and getting so much out of it. Warning - I‘ve highlighted many quotes! 😀 2y
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I‘m looking forward to your quotes 👍🏻❤️ 2y
LeahBergen I love that quote! 2y
Centique 😘 2y
Cathythoughts @LeahBergen I know! I love it too, she writes so well. The details 👌🏻 2y
Cathythoughts @Centique Thanks Paula X I love it , inside and out. 😍 2y
67 likes11 comments
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Graywacke
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Started today
#whartonbuddyread

TEArificbooks I just started too 2y
TheBookHippie Hope you‘re feeling better! 2y
Graywacke @mdm139 👍 @TheBookHippie feeling fine. Still isolating though. 2y
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Cathythoughts I hope you are out of isolation soon. Glad you feel better. I made a small start last night. 👍🏻 2y
Graywacke @TheBookHippie well, muted celebration. Isolating is weird. 😐😕 @Cathythoughts thanks! I‘m still getting in tune with this one. 2y
49 likes6 comments
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Lcsmcat
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Leftcoastzen Yay ! So ready! 2y
llwheeler Thanks for the reminder! 2y
CarolynM Thanks Linda. Looking forward to it. 2y
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Graywacke I‘m ready too! I‘ll start tomorrow. 2y
Currey Thank you for the reminder. I will also start tomorrow. 2y
batsy Oof! This book will be so fun to discuss! I don't think I can manage to squeeze in a re-read but I'll be taking a peek at your discussions 🕵🏾‍♀️🙂 2y
sarahbellum Looking forward to joining you all for this! 2y
Sparklemn I've read this one before so I'm going to follow along with the posts. Looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks. 2y
AnnR I got a little head start while I had some extra reading time. Looking forward to everyone's comments. 2y
Cathythoughts Thanks ! I‘m ready to go. 2y
rubyslippersreads I‘m just now starting. Hope to catch up during my pedicure this morning. 😊 2y
Tamra Thank you for the tag! I wish I could join, but I‘m “booked” with a class for the month. Please keep me in mind for the next Wharton! 2y
Lcsmcat @Tamra Do you want to not be tagged for this one? 2y
Louise Just finished reading Book One out loud to my mother. We‘re both looking forward to reading the group‘s insights on August 6th. 2y
Tamra @Lcsmcat I don‘t mind, but that might be easier for the group to have one less name to tag. I will watch out for the next book! 2y
Lcsmcat @Tamra I can make a note to add you back for the next one. But feel free to chime in if you feel like it later. 2y
Tamra @Lcsmcat 👍🏾 Thank you! 2y
29 likes1 stack add18 comments
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LitsyEvents
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The next #whartonbuddyread is The Custom of the Country, starting in August. https://www.litsy.com/web/post/2430660

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Leftcoastzen
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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So I read Age of Innocence @Lcsmcat invited me to join #WhartonBuddyRead for their next book ,The Reef. I had checked both out of the Library.Digging around today I find this ! Perhaps it‘s time to really review all the books I already own?!?! 😁🤔well , at least I‘m ready for next month with The Custom of the Country !

Lcsmcat I can‘t tell you how many times I‘ve done that! Glad you‘re ready for the next one! 2y
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat I know right? Shameless book hoarder , me!🙋‍♀️ 2y
AshleyHoss820 This is why I finally got the LibraryThing app because I KEPT doing this! 😅😅😅 2y
Graywacke Disorganization is a strength for home browsing…it leads to great discoveries. 🙂 2y
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke I like the way you think!😁 2y
59 likes5 comments
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Lcsmcat
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CarolynM 👍 2y
sarahbellum Could I please be added to the tag list for this one? 🙂 2y
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum Absolutely! 2y
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sarahbellum @Lcsmcat thank you! 2y
Graywacke Awesome 👍 My copy is ordered. 2y
Cathythoughts Excellent Thankyou. I have my copy & I‘ve taken a screenshot of our schedule 👍🏻😁 2y
llwheeler Sounds good! Thanks! 2y
Louise Hoping to jump back in with this one. 💗 2y
Lcsmcat @Louise 🤞🏻I always enjoy your insights! 2y
Louise @Lcsmcat Awwww, that‘s so kind of you to say. ☺️ 2y
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review
Litsi
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Pickpick

Put Age of Innocence and Ethan Fromme down right now. Now! And pick this up. If you want to know why Fitzgerald admired Wharton or want to see my full review go here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/spbookdiscussion/permalink/363344881795995/

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Cathythoughts
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Look at this beautiful book that has arrived in the post for me ! ❤️ I wonder who sent this ? & I Thankyou very much ! .. I love it 😍

batsy Oooh 😍 2y
Cathythoughts @batsy Oooh indeed ! Isn‘t it a beauty 2y
batsy @Cathythoughts Yes! And I read it awhile back but it's a great book ❤️ 2y
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Cathythoughts @batsy oh good & im reading her books now with the #WhartonBuddyRead so it‘s all the more welcome 🙏 2y
TrishB There‘s a mystery book person out there! 2y
Cathythoughts @TrishB 😂 there must be a little fairy on Litsy 😍 2y
LeahBergen That‘s lovely! 😍 2y
Centique Oh that‘s from me Cathy! I was going to send you a NZ book and then found it was out of print, so I saw you were doing the Wharton Buddy Read and thought that would be a good alternative! 💕💕 2y
Cathythoughts @Centique Thanks Paula ! It‘s a beautiful copy & so thoughtful of you. I am indeed doing the Wharton Buddy Read .. and I‘m really enjoying it. Your gift is perfect 💫❤️Thankyou X 2y
Cathythoughts @Centique I love the cover ❤️ 2y
Centique @Cathythoughts im so glad! 2y
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review
Woozy-Shooz
Pickpick

Undine Spragg. The heroine‘s name is reason enough to read this novel, one of the four great novels that Wharton produced imho; others being, House of Mirth, The Reef, and Age of Innocence. Custom is distinct for the success, however empty and short-lived, of the heroine‘s social climb. She‘s Lily Bart from House of Mirth, if Lily Bart had “made it.” Much needed indictment of the patriarchy, it left me disenchanted as opposed to heartbroken.

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Lcsmcat
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My #20best2020. At least for the moment. Ask me next week and I might have a different answer. 😀 And I didn‘t count rereads, which eliminated some I rated higher than these. Thanks for the tag @merelybookish ! Feel like playing @KVanRead @TheSpineView ?

TheSpineView Thanks for the tag! 😊📚 3y
Graywacke Great list of books. Happy to have shared a couple with you. 3y
Lcsmcat @Graywacke And there‘d have been more - both Cather and Shakespeare - if I had counted rereads. 3y
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erzascarletbookgasm I‘m adding a few of these! 👍 3y
Cathythoughts Nice list , I‘ve read 3 of them. Must investigate 3y
Lcsmcat @erzascarletbookgasm @Cathythoughts It‘s fun looking at everyone‘s lists! 3y
merelybookish What an eclectic list! Thanks for sharing. I love how you include so many genres and mix new and classic! I love, love, love Milkman! And am always excited when someone else does too. I'm curious about the last two on your list. I am not familiar with either one. 3y
Lcsmcat @merelybookish Whale Day is Billy Collins‘ most recent volume of poetry. Over By the River is a short story collection by William Maxwell, who in addition to being an author was Eudora Welty‘s editor. 3y
merelybookish @Lcsmcat Thanks! Maxwell is one of those mean to read sometime authors! Although I've heard his stuff is quite sad. 3y
Lcsmcat @merelybookish Some of his stuff is, and some is nostalgic. 3y
KVanRead Thanks for the tag! This is a great list. 3y
Cinfhen Fabulous list 🎉💗‼️ 3y
56 likes13 comments
review
EadieB
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Pickpick

1913 Wharton's The Custom Of The Country is a novel of ambition featuring Undine Spragg, beautiful but very materialistic. Her rise to the top of New York's high society provides a commentary on the aspirations that eventually caused her ruin. Her misplaced values of greed and power is as relevant today as when it was written over a century ago. I found the book to be well-written with unique characters and enjoyed the book very much. recommended

62 likes1 comment
review
Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

Another indictment of the “social world” of the gilded age, the protagonist does not claim our sympathy. Yet Wharton makes clear how few choices were open to women and how harshly they were judged for taking an active role in bettering their social position. At one point Bowen, a minor character, makes it explicit when he says that American men brought it on themselves by not trusting their wives and daughters to have brains. 👇🏻

Lcsmcat There are very few “likable” characters, and yet many that I sympathized with. #authoramonth @Soubhiville 4y
TheBookHippie We have the same book! 4y
Lcsmcat @TheBookHippie I got it years ago when “three novels for one price” meant more to me than “boy this book is heavy!” I read the other a long time ago, but somehow never go around to this one until now. 4y
TheBookHippie I found mine at a used book store for a couple bucks and thought why not 🤣🤷🏽‍♀️ 4y
53 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Lcsmcat
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Just started this for #authoramonth2020. I love Wharton, but haven‘t read this one yet. @Soubhiville

AllieLovesBooks Love your cocktail set up! 4y
Lcsmcat @OrtizReads1 Thanks! There‘s something civilized about a glass of sherry in the library on the weekend. 4y
AllieLovesBooks @Lcsmcat absolutely and I love your decanter label, you are quite the sophisticated person! ☺️ 4y
Lcsmcat @OrtizReads1 🥰 aren‘t you sweet. 4y
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TheBookHippie
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49 likes1 stack add
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zsuzsanna_reads
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My #firstpost on Litsy was about the tagged book (a "pick"), got five likes and my #firstlike was from @EvieBee . Two years and many likes later I'm still very happy to be on Litsy!

@DebinHawaii @daisydo @LeahBergen @BookishTrish

Not sure who started this #firstlike thing, I've just seen it on my feed!

hermyknee @Texreader started it! Fun, right?! 5y
Texreader Yay!! Glad you looked for your #firstlike !! 5y
LeahBergen Oh!! I love it! ❤️❤️ 5y
DebinHawaii So glad to be one of your early likers! 🤗 5y
55 likes5 comments
review
Ash.on.the.line
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Pickpick

How is it possible to hate a main character so much but thoroughly enjoy a book? Wharton definitely accomplished that with this one. I hated Undine but I couldn‘t stop reading to see what awful thing she did next. A social climber that would do about anything to reach to the top.
Towards the end I felt it started to drag a bit but overall I enjoyed!

Tamra That‘s Wharton! 💜 5y
RaimeyGallant I just finished You, so I know the feeling. 5y
Ash.on.the.line @RaimeyGallant Ah yes, Kepnes did a good job with that one. 5y
Ash.on.the.line @Tamra I had no idea I would enjoy it so much! 💜 5y
54 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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Ash.on.the.line
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Started this one and I was unsure about it. Undine is quite the character and I can‘t help but keep reading. She is awful but I want to know what she does next.

review
Cinfhen
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Pickpick

#Rocktober #IntheEnd I didn‘t bail on my bookclub read and I actually grew to appreciate this novel of vanity, satire and social climbing. Edith Wharton has a mighty wit and a sharp pen...perfect for flinging zingers🙌🏻 While Undine Spragg is a total vamp, I give her credit for pursuing her wants😉I did do some #pageskimming but #IntheEnd I‘m glad I did not #TakeTheBail

BarbaraBB I haven‘t read this one but generally love Wharton‘s characters! 6y
batsy Whoo! Happy to hear that. Love me some Wharton. I haven't read this one yet. 6y
TrishB Well done 👍 6y
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Tamra Wharton is a master of snark. I love her! 😄 6y
robinb Love Wharton too! 6y
emilyhaldi Woohoo!! Nice to see your bookclub saga get a happy ending ☺️☺️ (edited) 6y
Reviewsbylola What other books of hers have you read? Just curious how this one compares. 6y
Cinfhen This was my first Wharton @Reviewsbylola and she does appear to be the master of snark @Tamra Bookclub is tonight and the girls are ready to chat @emilyhaldi @BarbaraBB @batsy @TrishB @robinb 6y
Reviewsbylola If you decide to read another one, The Age of Innocence is my favorite of hers! 6y
Cinfhen I probably won't @Reviewsbylola but #NeverSayNever I'll try to keep an open mind... 6y
Cinfhen I know lots of people loved 6y
Reviewsbylola 😂😂 I actually didn‘t love Mirth. It wasn‘t bad but just not great. 6y
BarbaraBB Age of Innocence and House of Mirth are both excellent I thought! And Ethan Frome as well! 6y
102 likes2 stack adds13 comments
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Cinfhen
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Guess who's the odd man out in my RL bookclub? Everybody seems to be enjoying this Wharton, sadly I have zero interest in this overly cliched story. However with this group, #BailingIsNotAnOption

LeahBergen 😂😂 The hashtag! 7y
bookishkai I don‘t get along well with the “classics” either, 7y
Foragingfantasy Can you find it on audio, might make it easier. 7y
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Cinfhen I'm going to look on my OverDrive system @Foragingfantasy ....I'm glad I'm not the only one @bookishkris 😉thanks @LeahBergen but this group is harsh😂 7y
Marchpane If bailing is truly not an option I advocate "skim finishing" 7y
Sydsavvy @Marchpane I like that term "skim finishing" - definitely been employed by me! (edited) 7y
Cinfhen Love that hashtag @Marchpane @Sydsavvy I've been known to use that method as well!! 7y
Marchpane @Sydsavvy @Cinfhen No shame in it! 😁 7y
readinginthedark Sorry you don't like it! I haven't read this one, but I really liked The Age of Innocence by her. 7y
TrishB Not read any Wharton and my VC in work is one of the world experts on her and always asks if I've read any yet....just don't fancy it!! 7y
Leniverse I haven't read this one, but I think I might be the only classics lover on the planet who rolled my eyes at The Age of Innocence. I did better with Ethan Frome, but that was a novella so I didn't have time to get thoroughly fed up. 😂 7y
Cinfhen Thanks so much @Leniverse my bookclub is loving her, and while I'm in awe of her feistiness this book just reads sooooooo dated! I can't get into it @TrishB @readinginthedark #ItsDefinitelyMe 7y
Blaire Good luck, if you want to try another Wharton - I'd go with house of mirth. That's my favorite one. For book clubs I have often done a very quick skim to make it through when I'm not enjoying it. (Can't actually remember if I've read custom of the country). (edited) 7y
DivineDiana @Cinfhen Not fun ploughing through a book you have no interest in reading! 🙁There must be Cliff Notes or Spark notes available?!? 🤔 7y
Cinfhen That's my next step @DivineDiana it's better than a #shawnmooney or a #skimfinishing 😂😂 7y
Cinfhen Thanks @Blaire I've heard good things about House of Mirth but it's #SoManyBooksSoLittleTime 7y
DivineDiana @Cinfhen Agree! 😀😉 7y
emilyhaldi Oh man, sorry this book club is not as kind and accomodating as your litsy readalong group! 😂💁🏻 7y
Cinfhen 😂😂😂 TRUTH @emilyhaldi 😘😘 7y
Reviewsbylola Can you read it on serial reader? Sometimes small doses help. 7y
[DELETED] 3803335244 I'd bail anyway! Lol 😂 7y
Cinfhen I'm scared of this group @ForeverNerdy 🙈think I may be #SparkNoting 7y
Elisa Oh yikes. You are a stronger woman than I am! This is exactly why I not do book clubs 😬 Is the book getting any better? How far are you? 7y
Cinfhen @Elisa I'm about half way through....it's just not grabbing me. I despise the MC & I just don't give a crap about her. I realize this book was written in 1913, which is amazing but you know what??? It feels REALLY DATED!!! 😩we meet next week, so I think I'll just read the online bookclub discussion summary 😉 7y
Elisa @Cinfhen haha attagirl, don‘t torture yourself! 😉 I totally get it though — if I don‘t like the main character, very often I just want to close the book quite decisively and never open it again, which basically me saying “that‘s enough out of YOU!” 😅 7y
ValerieAndBooks Ha. Sorry you‘re not enjoying it! I do like Wharton a lot 😆. 7y
112 likes26 comments
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EvieBee
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She arrived safely! Treated myself to this beautiful omnibus after finishing THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. #bookhaul #bookmail

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Soooo pretty 💜💜💜 7y
Eyelit Lovely cover! 7y
Reviewsbylola 😍😍😍 7y
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kspenmoll Love the cover, can see why you treated yourself! 7y
EvieBee @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @Eyelit @Reviewsbylola @kspenmoll Thank you! I have been ogling it at Barnes and Noble for a few years and finally bought it! It's cheaper on Amazon, FYI. $13! 🤓 7y
vivastory Love this cover 7y
BekahB Oohhh I've been eyeing that edition for a while. It's so pretty! 7y
batsy Oooh, I covet this. So pretty! I wish it was someone other than Franzen doing the intro, though. 7y
EvieBee @vivastory @BekahB Thank you! 🤗 7y
EvieBee @batsy Right?! I was annoyed by that. 7y
WhatDeeReads Franzen, gross. 🤢 7y
robinb I have this story but haven't got to it yet. Need to bump it up! 7y
LauraBrook Lovely lovely edition! 7y
EvieBee @WhatDeeReads Almost ruined it! Thank goodness it's gorgeous. I'll just have to skip that intro. (edited) 7y
EvieBee @robinb I started it like 5 times and it seemed right this year. Funny thing, huh? Hopefully it's right for you soon. Such a wonderful book and hard to put down. Drama town...and I love it! 7y
EvieBee @LauraBrook Thank you! Amazon marked it down, so you might want to take a gander IF you're interested. 🤓😄 7y
Ms_T Beautiful cover! I've only read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and should really read more as I enjoy her writing style. So many books, so little time 😃 7y
EvieBee @Ms_T I know that's right? I need to read Ethan Frome! I know I own a copy somewhere. 7y
87 likes3 stack adds18 comments
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EvieBee
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So I decided to revamp my #TBRBingo card to concentrate on classics, which is a little more challenging for me, and includes some Kindle books as well. My treat when I Bingo? I'm going to go for a Folio classic! Already got a budget approved from "the board" for this project. ??

TrishB A great incentive 👍 7y
merelybookish Excellent! 7y
TheWordJar That's a great reward!! 7y
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rubyslippersreads A Folio book is an excellent way to treat yourself. 😊 7y
WhatDeeReads Excellent reward! 7y
minkyb Excellent reward choice! 7y
BarbaraBB Great books on your card! 7y
janeycanuck Oh! Brilliant reward!!! Folio books are GORGEOUS! 7y
UrsulaMonarch Wonderful! 👏👏👏 7y
LeahBergen Oooo! I like this idea! 7y
Cortg The Secret Garden is one of my all time faves! I've been working my way through Les Miserables for a year now. It's good but huge! Plus I haven't put my full attention towards it. It's huge! 7y
batsy Yay for "the board" ? Also you've given me the idea to use Agnes Grey for A in #LitsyAtoZ. You've got some wonderful books there! 7y
EvieBee @TrishB @merelybookish @TheWordJar @rubyslippersreads @WhatDeeReads @minkyb @BarbaraBB @janeycanuck @Lkelly @LeahBergen Thank you! Some of these are doozies so hopefully I won't have to wait too long!! 🤓 7y
EvieBee @Cortg It is! I was so reluctant to put it on the list for that reason but everyone says it's a rewarding read. I like to read other books in between classics, too so I can feel like I'm moving books around. 😊 7y
EvieBee @batsy Lol! The board is generous even if they don't understand that readers are gonna read and buy more books than they'll ever read. Yay! I adored TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL and have been meaning to read AGNES for awhile now. 7y
102 likes15 comments
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jobertson
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'And so with his inner world. Though so coloured by outer impressions, it wove a secret curtain about him, and he came and went in it with the same joy of furtive possession.'

2 likes1 stack add
review
zsuzsanna_reads
Pickpick

Good-bye Undine, I've enjoyed our time together. I will catch up with you again one day.

DebinHawaii Welcome to Litsy!! 🎉📚👍😀 7y
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
review
KikiLovesBooks
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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Undine Spragg of Apex and lately New York is a force unto herself: self obsessed and an actress in her own life. Dazzling and materialistic, she sets a goal and will reach it, even though she likes to think of herself as a "good girl." She really knows nothing else. Vanity is her engine and flattery her fuel. Wharton writes amazing portraits of 1913 characters. Undine herself is a startling beauty. I both loved and despised her journey.

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KikiLovesBooks
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Happy New Year and a beautiful 2017, reader friends! ❌⭕❌⭕❤

LauraJ Love this image 💕 7y
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KikiLovesBooks
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"She might have been some fabled creature whose home was in a beam of light...She therefore watched herself approvingly, admiring the light on her hair, the flash of teeth between her smiling lips, the pure shadows of her throats and shoulders as she passed from one attitude to another." Undine loves herself.

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KikiLovesBooks
Custom of the Country | Edith Wharton
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I wish I had written this!

britt_brooke 💕💕💕 7y
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