Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The House of Mirth

I just finished this book today. It was very good, but also frightening. The heroine, Lily Bart, is a well-bred young lady trying to stay in early 1900s New York high society though she doesn't have enough money. She needs to marry well, but every time a man looks all set to propose, she can't follow through. She doesn't really know why, just that it feels vaguely distasteful & she shrinks away at the last minute, despite working hard to line up all the ducks initially. As she gets older, it's harder & harder to maintain her position without money & a husband. I identified with her so much, the way she knew she was better than all that but it was the only world she knew, & she was forced to compromise - not her morals exactly, maybe her honor & independence. I don't have to marry or sleep with money, but like everyone else I've thought about how much easier my life would be if I could. We are so lucky to live in a time when women can work & be independent. Though we still don't get paid equal to men, at least we have options.

I also finished Cyteen over the weekend. The ending was a bit abrupt, & in general it was a little difficult, but it's an engrossing story with a lot of insights into how people react to different behavior. I definitely recommend both books.

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