Oct 19, 2014

The Custom of the Country: final chapters (31 to 46)

Does Undine after all that manipulation, live to a happy ending? I don't think so. If we can extract some conclusions here, I would say, enjoy the day! She is constantly wanting what she doesn't have and as soon as she gets it, ooopsss, something new on sight!
Did you like the end?


  1. To certain extent I felt she had a happy end, since it seemed to me that Moffat had been the only man for whom she felt something different than pure interest based on the social and economic benefit she could obtain. However, she finishes focusing on the things she does not like and the things she does not and cannot have. It seems she will always be dissatisfied...
    It is very sad how the marriage with Raymond de Chelles deteriorates (though it couldn't be any other way) because of how it drags the relationship between little Paul Marvell and him. I felt sorry for all the people whose life Undine ruins without she not even realizing and/or caring about.
    Although heartbreaking, I like the part in which Paul Marvell's side is presented. Poor kid.
    One thing I was wondering about is all that clipping issue and the social "news" at the newspapers. I guess that is extracted from a custom of that time, so my comment is: really? However, now that I think about it, it shouldn't be such a surprise. It could have been the predecessor style of "Hellou" magazine...
    Anyway, there would be so much to say and there were too many extracts of the book that outraged me that I could mention. But since my fellow cookies have read the book, I guess you know what I mean.
    Am I going to read Mrs. Wharton again?
    Despite having enjoyed very much her prose and beautiful descriptions of each character, she is not in my priority list - I couldn't bear another Undine in my life :-)

  2. I did enjoy the book, I actually read it quite fast. The fact that the main character is despicable, does have an interest! It doesn't work when everybody is good and nice, there is no story. The choice of having a main character which is treated with irony is a good one. Maybe at some point, I will agree, it is a little too much how stupid Undine is, but all in all, I would say, very good job Ms. Wharton, as it is no easy task! I was happy to see that the end was of no satisfaction to Undine, but the way she was, it was impossible. As soon as she has something, she is already looking for something new, whatever it is, homes or husbands...
    The society the book depicts is not that faraway from what we find today in many many things... Macarena, you mention the clippings, I would say that that hasn't changed a bit, only today, they are digital!
    I will probably read more of Ms. Wharton at some point.

  3. I did like the end. Undine is a horrible person and I am confident that she will never be happy. She is the kind of person who is never happy or satisfied with what she had, she will always want something else or what others have. Eternally unsatisfied.

    Lesson learned: no situation is perfect. Try to make the most of what you have, of course trying to improve the things you don't like. Be greatful for what life provides and, most important, live your life and avoid pretending being someone else. Be yourself!

    As for the clippings, the first thing that came to mind was Hello magazine, but there are so many more. And as Rocio said, online? My God, we can follow some people's lives to the minute!

    I think the book and the style are great, but probably not my style. I was happy to read it and learn all about Ms. Wharton, who was a brave, intelligent and traveled woman, but I am ready to move on to Ghana!!! See you there!!


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