The Custom of the Country

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What to expect

One of Edith Wharton’s most acclaimed works, The Custom of the Country is a blistering indictment of materialism, power, and misplaced values. Its heroine, Undine Spragg, is one of the most ruthless characters in all of literature, as selfishly unscrupulous as she is fiercely beautiful. When her family acquires a small fortune, they leave America’s heartland and head east. As Undine climbs the social ladder through a series of marriages and affairs, she shows little concern for who she has to step on to get anything and everything she desires. Her rise to the top of New York’s elite society—before moving on to conquer Paris as well—provides a poignant and scathing commentary on the unquenchable ambitions of America’s nouveau riche.

Critics Review

  • “Brilliantly written.”

    Saturday Review (London)
  • The Custom of the Country is one of the most enjoyable great novels ever written. Not all enjoyable novels are great, and not all great novels are enjoyable. This is, supremely, both.”

    The Guardian (London)
  • “Of all Edith Wharton novels, The Custom of the Country is my absolute favorite…Grace Conlin’s reading of Blackstone’s unabridged version is splendid, her voice fruity, elegant, and utterly ruthless.” 

    Forbes (audio review)
  • “A splendid and memorable piece of work.”


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