The Custom of the Country

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"For my money, no literary antiheroine can best Undine." -Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Edith Wharton's compulsively readable 20th century classic about the conquests of Undine Spragg, the glamorous and insatiable social climber-now with a new introduction by Brandon Taylor.

Undine Spragg is beautiful-anyone in New York will admit to as much. But what is the point of beauty if no one can see you? The Spraggs left the Midwest in search of a glamorous life for their daughter. Now, cooped up in a gilded uptown hotel they can barely afford, they begin to fear their move to the big city was for naught. But Undine is determined. And Undine always gets her way.

What follows is a tactical climb to the pinnacle of affluence and early 20th-century high society that will amaze and mortify. Witty and devasting, The Custom of the Country is an astute comedy of manners and a scathing satire of upper-class life that bites to this day. More than a century after its original publication, Edith Wharton's 1913 masterpiece remains an un-put-downable showcase for one of the most memorable, controversial anti-heroines in American literature.