“She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.”
― Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth
If you have read anything by Wharton, you will know that mirth is rarely to be found in her work;-) That being said, her style of storytelling, for me at least, is so compelling and really draws you in. I liked this even more than The Age of Innocence, which was a surprisingly engaging novel, once you get past the fact that it's rather depressing.
The House of Mirth is the story of Lily Bart, a beautiful young woman, who gets into money-related trouble, which haunts her for many years to come. What I found so fascinating about this book was not so much the story, but the character of Lily Bart, who stays with you long after you close the book. I am the kind of reader who can love a mediocre book if its characters are memorable, and Wharton just does really intriguing characters. Lily was not always likable; arrogant or proud at times, but those flaws were balanced with kindness and self-awareness, that made her multi-dimensional.
In years to come, I will probably forget many of the story's details, but I think I will still remember Lily Bart. Now I have to find some of Wharton's other books, fortunately for me, she was quite prolific.