The Custom of the Country

Written by:
Edith Wharton
Narrated by:
Lorna Raver

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2011
16 hours 30 minutes
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 twentieth century. By utilizing 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.
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Linda M.

I loved this book. I read it many years ago and listened to it now in preparation for a book club discussion of it - I recommended it to the group because it raises so many issues, there is so much to discuss. The heroine, Undine Spragg, is not a "hero" and is indeed one of the least likeable characters in a book that I have come across but that is partly the attraction of the book. Undine symbolizes something; the untethered greed of certain societal and political systems and the story shows the damage that she/it leaves in her wake. A brilliant book. The narrator could not have done a better job - excellent.

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