From New York to Europe, the apartments of the nouveau riche to ancient French estates, Edith Wharton tells the story of Undine Spragg, a girl from a Midwestern town with unquenchable social aspirations. Though Undine is narcissistic, pampered, and incredibly selfish, she is a beguiling heroine whose marital initiation into New York high society from its trade-wealthy fringes is only the beginning of her relentless ambitions.
Wharton weaves an elaborate plot that renders a detailed depiction of upper-class social behavior in the early 20th century. By using a character with inexorable greed in a novel of manners, she demonstrates some of the customs of a modern age and posits a surprising explanation for divorce and the social role of women, which still resonates for the modern audience today.
Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By AJ1906 on 08-11-17


Very good. Edith Wharton at her best. A great listen for a long journey. Excellent.

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5 out of 5 stars
By mancbella on 13-02-17


Edith Wharton's best novel in my opinion. Undine Spragg is an incredible invention. Infuriating at times but worth it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By D. Donohue on 15-04-12


Would you consider the audio edition of The Custom of the Country to be better than the print version?

This narrator has extraordinary skill at cadence and differentiation between the large cast of characters. It was absolutely cinematic.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Custom of the Country?

Both the beginning and end are startling and are moments where the events in the tale seem to open into a wider critique that touches the here and now.

What about Lorna Raver???s performance did you like?

She beautifully performs all of the genders, ages and classes written without ever letting you notice that she is doing it. He pronunciation is flawless in French and English.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

In a world where too much is never enough, Undine Spragg is the hungriest of the hungry.

Any additional comments?

The book is enthralling. I had never read it, recently read a piece in the New Yorker about it, and had hoped it would be interesting. It was difficult to remove my i-pod, frankly.

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7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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