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The Reef | Edith Wharton
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I'm very tardy in finishing this book, but I enjoyed catching up with the #whartonbuddyread posts. I don't have strong feelings about this book either way. Of the two main characters, one is wishy-washy and one is the master of gaslighting. 😐

The pic above captures how I envisioned Anna's home at Givre. According to Amazon, it's called Rising Road Couple Walking Countryside by Gustave Calliebotte.

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.” 7d
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. 7d
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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.” 7d
Lcsmcat @Currey Yes! I highlighted that too. I have to confess that it reminded me of a certain teenager who lived in my house. 😂 7d
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? 7d
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. 😏 7d
rubyslippersreads I‘m behind, but will catch up soon. Liking Undine less and less, though. 7d
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads She‘s difficult to like. Definitely not someone I‘d want to live with! 7d
Graywacke Love the quotes @Lcsmcat and @Currey 7d
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.) 7d
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. 👇 7d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Calling Ralph a survival really made him seem pathetic, didn‘t it? 7d
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. 7d
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. 7d
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. 7d
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. 7d
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. 7d
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… 7d
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. 7d
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.” 7d
Lcsmcat @Graywacke the “muddiest reaches” bit, especially juxtaposed with “pure water” makes me think it was not all above board. 7d
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. 7d
Ann_Reads 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. 7d
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.) 7d
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. 7d
Ann_Reads @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. 6d
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 6d
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. 6d
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. 6d
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. 6d
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.” 6d
Leftcoastzen @CarolynM I was thinking the same about Moffatt. 6d
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! 6d
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. 6d
Graywacke @CarolynM interesting catch, that line about “how she could be so sure”. What do we not know about her history? 6d
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.) 6d
Graywacke (Random aside: I only just figured out that each “book” in the novel is ten chapters.) 6d
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. 6d
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. 6d
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) 6d
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) 6d
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 👍🏻♥️ 6d
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 👇🏻 6d
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. 6d
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. 6d
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Poor Paul! Does he even stand a chance?! 6d
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. 6d
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts yes, poor Paul. He doesn‘t have a mother. 6d
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. 5d
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. 5d
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat Where is this photo from ? It‘s intriguing. 5d
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts It‘s from the internet, I think from a stage production of the novel. (I should be more careful to attribute photos.) 5d
Cathythoughts It‘s a brilliant photo ! I love it. Well done 👍🏻 5d
Cathythoughts I‘d love to see a stage production! Imagine! 5d
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. 2d
Lcsmcat @rubyslippersreads Very much like Scarlett!! 2d
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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. 1w
Graywacke Undine is more “modern” than anyone else in this novel. She takes after her father. 1w
Leftcoastzen @Graywacke @Lcsmcat Right?! She‘s so predictable but the levels she takes it to ! 1w
50 likes3 comments
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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! 1w
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. 7d
llwheeler @CarolynM she's definitely an unlikable character 6d
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Untitled | Unknown
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1. Not really anyone, although I had a wonderful 10th grade teacher who encouraged me. I‘m a late reader. Basically someone handed me the right book at the right time (when I was 17)

2. No autobuys unless I‘m collecting their works (currently Muriel Spark, Edith Wharton, and Richard Wright)

3. Here: #shakespearereadalong #whartonbuddyread

#wondrouswednesday @Eggs
Thanks @Ann_Reads for the tag. @TheBookHippie @Louise - want to play?

Eggs 👍🏼📚🤩 1w
Louise Hi, Dan. Thanks for the tag! I‘m a bit late to the game (well beyond “wondrous Wednesday“), so I‘ll just answer here. 1) I grew up in a reading family, so my parents passed on their love of reading and took me often to libraries and bookstores. 2) Paul Matthews (English poet). 3) #whartonbuddyread The Custom of the Country. (edited) 6d
Graywacke @Louise thanks! Terrific answer to #1. 6d
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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) 2w
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.” 2w
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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) 2w
Lcsmcat “Undine‘s white and gold bedroom, with sea-green panels and old rose carpet,” 2w
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.” 2w
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.” 2w
Lcsmcat “(Undine had noticed that they were all more or less cousins)” 2w
Lcsmcat At the Stentorian- “silently eating their way through a bill-of-fare which seemed to have ransacked the globe for gastronomic incompatibilities;” 2w
Lcsmcat Undine “was used to the homage of the streets and her vanity craved a choicer fare.” 2w
Lcsmcat “It was one of Mrs. Spragg‘s chief occupations to watch the nightly lighting of New York.” 2w
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.” 2w
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!” 2w
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.” 2w
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.” 2w
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—“ 2w
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. 2w
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 👍🏻♥️ 2w
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 2w
Lcsmcat @Currey That was funny. Mr. Spragg has more of my sympathy than anyone else, so far. 2w
Currey @Lcsmcat Where are you imaging Apex is? Also I am intrigued by what exactly Elmer has on the Spraggs. Were they (gasp) engaged? 2w
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. 👇 2w
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) 2w
Graywacke @Louise how interesting about Undine‘a name. Thanks! 2w
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? 2w
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.” 2w
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) 2w
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. 2w
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) 2w
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.” 2w
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—” 2w
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. 2w
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. 2w
Louise Oh, sorry! The passages about words in the trees are in Book 2. 🤭🤦🏻‍♀️ 2w
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! 😳 😆 2w
arubabookwoman Oh my! This totally slipped my mind. I will catch up and join in next week. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @louise hair-waver … water. 🙂 2w
Graywacke @Louise i was sad I thinking I had read and forgotten the words on trees lines. Now I have something to look for! 🙂 2w
Louise @Graywacke Thanks for putting a nice spin on my blunder! The passages about words are definitely something to look forward to! 2w
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! ☺️) 2w
Ann_Reads 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.

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. 😏 2w
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. 2w
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. 😂 2w
Ann_Reads 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. 2w
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) 2w
Lcsmcat @sarahbellum 😂😂Veruca Salt😂😂 2w
mdm139 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. 2w
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! 2w
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. 2w
Leftcoastzen I love that quote about Mrs.Spragg watching the lighting of New York ! I could almost picture it. 2w
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. 2w
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. 💗 2w
Lcsmcat @Leftcoastzen It‘s vivid, and very sad. She‘s stuck there with no friends. 2w
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. 2w
Leftcoastzen @Lcsmcat Yes, you can feel her sadness! 2w
Louise @Leftcoastzen Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, reading together in this way really does add joy to our day. ❤️ 2w
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. 2w
Graywacke @sarahbellum i had to Google Veruca Salt. 😊 (and had to figure out you didn‘t mean the band named after her) 2w
sarahbellum @Graywacke I read a lot of Roald Dahl growing up 🙃 2w
Cathythoughts @Louise That is interesting about Undines name ! .. @Lcsmcat I hadnt gone any further than the hair-waver either. 2w
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 💔 2w
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) 2w
Ann_Reads @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. 2w
sarahbellum @Ann_Reads if only! 🥚 2w
rubyslippersreads @Lcsmcat And her father does kind of try to rein her in (for all the good it does). 2w
rubyslippersreads @Louise I ❤️ that you‘re reading it with your mom. 2w
Louise @rubyslippersreads Thanks. We‘re enjoying reading it together and talking about it. 💗 2w
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Book 1 - Chapter 2 Quote
This cemented my initial impression of Undine; a manipulative, spoiled, singularly focused social climber. I thought it was telling and sad that Undine doesn't seem to have much appreciation of or respect for her one 'friend' Mabel. I'm enjoying Wharton's characterization, even if I don't especially like the character. (I hope that makes sense.)

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Lcsmcat Thanks for sharing! 2w
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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

Beautiful edition from Paula @Centique Thankyou ♥️

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