By: Edith Wharton
Ann Eliza and Evelina are spinster sisters eking out a quiet existence as shopkeepers in a crumbling corner of New York City. When Ann Eliza gives Evelina a clock for her birthday, their lives become entangled with the clockmaker Mr. Ramy, with devastating consequences for them both. Ann Eliza feels she has it in her power to ensure her sister’s happiness at the expense of her own – but can she really envisage the effects of her actions?
I’ve greatly enjoyed reading Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (review) and The Age of Innocence (review) so I’ve been curious to check out her other books. I started with this book partly because it’s short but also because the sisters as protagonists intrigued me a lot.
The focus of this novel was more on Ann Eliza, the older of the two sisters, as their quiet lives are turned upside-down with the arrival of Mr. Ramy into their lives. I felt a little bad for Ann Eliza over the course of the first part of the novel because it seemed as though nothing has ever happened in her life whereas her younger sister Evelina seemed to be blessed with more attention and happenings coming her way. There seemed to have been some undercurrent of tension between the sisters the more that Mr. Ramy stuck around but it would have been more interesting had Wharton fleshed out that section of the story. I will say that I did not expect that sudden turn of events in the second half of the novel. Without going into any details I really felt bad for everyone, it was so unexpected. It certainly is a lesson that people are not always what they seem to be.
Bunner Sisters is not as well-developed as The House of Mirth or The Age of Innocence. Many scenes could’ve been fleshed out and the characters could have been more established but it was still interesting to check out and read about characters in a different station in society.
Read about the author from her Wikipedia page || Order the book from the Book Depository
Age of Innocence
By: Edith Wharton
When about to marry the beautiful and conventional May Welland, Newland Archer falls in love with her very unconventional cousin, the Countess Olenska. The consequent drama, set in New York during the 1870s, reveals terrifying chasms under the polished surface of upper-class society as the increasingly fraught Archer struggles with conflicting obligations and desires.
I read Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth (review) late last year and absolutely loved it so I was looking forward to reading this book as it’s her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Contains spoilers ahead!
The House of Mirth
By: Edith Wharton
Set among the elegant brownstones of New York City and opulent country houses like gracious Bellomont on the Hudson, the novel creates a satiric portrayal of what Wharton herself called “a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers” with a precision comparable to that of Proust. And her brilliant and complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, becomes an incisive commentary on the nature and status of women in that society. From her tragic attraction to bachelor lawyer Lawrence Selden to her desperate relationship with social-climbing Rosedale, Lily is all too much a product of the world indicated by the title, a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes: “The heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” For it is Lily’s very specialness that threatens the elegance and fulfillment she seeks in life.
Edith Wharton is one of those authors that I’ve heard about for a very long time but for some reason have never gotten around to reading. Well, I figured now was a good time to rectify the situation and oh man, I could not put this book down =P Contains spoilers ahead! (I had a lot more to say about this book than I initially thought when I started this entry)