The Custom of the Country (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Edith Wharton

The Custom of the Country

Read by Laurel Lefkow


Single-minded and spoilt, Undine Spragg arrives in New York determined to procure for herself a social status to match her family’s wealth. Ambition, greed and an arresting beauty soon secure her path to marriage… and also to divorce. The Custom of the Country (1913) is a sophisticated commentary on both – touching on the implications for a woman of ending a marriage at a time when the author herself was navigating that very situation. As the splendidly mismatched Undine and Ralph travel to Europe, Wharton contrasts the pecuniary motivation of the nouveau riche in America with European ideals of tradition, and through her array of characters and subtle insights into society, she delivers a novel every bit as immersive and entertaining as The Age of Innocence.

Audiofile – Earphones Award
  • Running Time: 15 h 58 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-78198-403-1
    Cat. no.:NA0539
    Produced by:Neil Rosser
    Edited by:Andrew Riches
    Released:May 22
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Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Laurel Lefkow gives a stellar performance as she introduces Edith Wharton’s 1913 characters to a 21st-century audience. The story features one of literature’s least likable heroines, Undine Spragg. Lefkow gives her a simpering, cloying, sometimes whiny voice, which is perfectly suited to this shallow, spoiled, and self-absorbed young woman. Undine has four marriages as she ascends the social ladder, and each union is masterfully portrayed. Undine’s richest husband is the crude financial tycoon Elmer Moffat. He is given a husky, folksy voice. The story is slow paced and filled with richly detailed locales. Lefkow’s warm, articulate voice makes for a highly enjoyable listening experience.

D.L.G., AudioFile

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