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What a depressing, but beautifully written book! The writing style is sophisticated and pure. You'll get the impression that the main character, Lily, is destined for a fatal crash, but you'll find yourself screaming at her to make the "right" choices and to defend herself when wrongly accused. Lily is so conflicted in what she thinks she wants and who she really is that you never know whether or not she finally resolves these issues within herself in the end. If you're a woman, you'll be thankful that you don't have the same limitations and ridiculous moral standards that were the societal norm in the early 1900's. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
In spite of the title, this is a sort of tragedy, and it makes you realize (if you are a woman) how glad you are to be living now, and not in the days when a woman practically had to marry to have a life, and had to marry well--never mind love or compatibility--to continue the life to which she was accustomed, unless she was already rich.
This book served to while away some hours waiting in a tax-preparer's office, which were thus saved from their tedium, and I really enjoyed it. I have to warn other readers, though: You will find yourself wanting to scream at the heroine, "No, you goose! Can't you see that if you do that, you'll ruin all your chances?" Lily Bart is both too conscientious for her own good, and too careless. You find yourself beginning to like her.
If you don't want to know the end from the beginning, leave the introduction until afterwards.
Wharton's classic novel is a study of New York's high society in the late nineteenth century. The heroine, Lily Bart, finds herself victim of a society where appearances are far more important than reality. The constant search for the perfct husband reminds me a little of a Jane Austen novel without the happy ending.