rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was absolutely fascinated by the heroine, Lily Bart. This is by far my favorite of Wharton's novels. Maybe it's because I relate to a female protagonist moreso than a male, but I don't think that's all. Wharton's descriptions are poetic, but never get in the way of the storytelling, in fact they add a great depth. When you summarize the plot, it sounds like the most boring thing you can think of (an impoverished but beautiful socialite's fall from New York high society), but the characterization and the completely alien rules of that society are engrossing. You feel such empathy for Lily, but at the same time, you don't necessarily have a great respect for her. If you haven't read any Wharton, I would suggest this as a sampling of her writing. It's about 370 pages, but it feels like a quick read. My only complaint is that the viewpoint switches sometimes, which can be confusing if Lily's meeting a female, and you aren't sure who's impression you're reading.
View all my reviews.