Tuesday, October 28, 2014

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros--The Custom of the Country


Happy Tuesday! Today I'm participating in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros at Bibliophile by the Sea where readers share a bit about what they are reading or planning to read.

My choice is a book that has been on my shelf for far too long--The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. I have the 1997 Scribner paperback edition.

From the back cover:

"First published in 1913 and regarded by many critics as her most substantial novel, The Custom of the Country is Edith Wharton's powerful saga about the beautiful, ruthless Undine Spragg. A woman of extraordinary ambition and exuberant vitality, Undine is consigned by virtue of her sex to the shadow world of the drawing room and boudoir. Marriage remains the one institution through which she can exercise her will as she entrances man after man, marrying one after the other with protean facility and almost monstrous avidity. A novel that ranges from New York to Paris, from Apex City, Kansas, to Reno, Nevada, The Custom of the Country stands as a dark satire of American business, society, and the nouveaux riches, and as Edith Wharton's contribution to the tradition of the American epic."

The first few chapters:

"Undine Spragg--how can you?" her mother wailed, raising a prematurely-wrinkled hand heavy with rings to defend the note which a languid "bell-boy" had just brought in.

But her defence was as feeble as her protest, and she continued to smile on her visitor while Miss Spragg, with a turn of her quick young fingers, possessed herself of the missive and withdrew to the window to read it.

"I guess it's meant for me," she merely threw over the shoulder at her mother.

What do you think? Should I keep reading?


28 comments:

  1. This is my favorite Wharton novel... Undine is truly an unforgettable character! Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't talked to anyone who's read it, so I'm glad to have your recommendation. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. I have not yet read Wharton...how is this possible? I do have The Age of Innocence on Sparky...waiting.

    This one sounds really good, though. I like the idea of a woman finding her "power" in repeated marriages.

    Here's mine: “SAVING GRACE”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read some of Wharton's short stories and a couple of her novels which I've really enjoyed. So far, my favorite has been House of Mirth, but I'm excited to be starting The Custom of the Country. Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  3. I'm with Laurel-Rain in that I've never read Wharton - how did I escape high school without doing this? I like the premise, but the intro didn't really grab me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by, Sarah!

      Delete
  4. I haven't read anything by this author before, and am not sure I have ever heard of this particular novel by her. It sure does sound good though!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I haven't read this one, but I think I should, especially now that I'm curious about what's in that note. Undine sounds like a fascinating character.
    My Tuesday post features THE BEARWALKER’S DAUGHTER.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm curious about the note, too! Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  6. Seems like a lot of historical setting in this weeks offerings. I wish I were in the mood.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I really enjoy finding out about what everyone is reading. Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  7. I've never read Edith Wharton; in general, I avoid anything that might be considered 'classic'. But this one has me tempted. The writing flows well and I'm curious about the note.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. I haven't read this book and as far as I can remember I've never read any of Edith Wharton's work... I think I'll have to change that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I haven't read this one, but I have enjoyed several other Edith Wharton novels. Thanks for sharing it and for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I haven't read Edith Wharton either. But this one has me curious enough to put it on my list. I was just telling my husband, that being on these blogs has enticed me to read classics and other books I would never have otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love finding out about what other people are reading, too, and have read books I wouldn't have otherwise. Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  11. I like it and have been wanting to try this one as well. I just bought the Kindle Edition. Thanks for sharing Monica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Diane. I'll be interested to see what you think of the book.

      Delete
  12. I would continue reading. I've only read a couple of Wharton's books.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I ha en't read this book but I sure like the way it starts. I hope you enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, and thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  14. Well I'd give it a try, the cover is lovely. Have a happy Halloween! kelley—the road goes ever ever on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lovely cover, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Halloween!

      Delete