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The Old Maid copertina

The Old Maid

Di: Edith Wharton
Letto da: Eleanor Bron
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Sintesi dell'editore

The story follows the life of Tina, a young woman caught between the mother who adopted her - the beautiful, upstanding Delia - and her true mother, her plain, unmarried ‘aunt’ Charlotte, who gave Tina up to provide her with a socially acceptable life.

The three women live quietly together until Tina’s wedding day, when Delia’s and Charlotte’s hidden jealousies rush to the surface. Originally serialized in The Red Book magazine in 1922, The Old Maid is an examination of class and society as only Edith Wharton could undertake.

©2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Ilana
  • Ilana
  • 10/12/2013

The More I Read Edith Wharton...

As I mentioned recently somewhere, the more I read Edith Wharton the more I love her, which is saying a lot since I was instantly smitten when I started reading my first book by her, The House of Mirth. I’ve read a couple of her novels and some of her shorter works since, but this is the first short story I've read of hers so far, and I can see why she was considered a master of the form. This story is included in the Old New York collection and I'm counting is as an individual work since I got it as an audiobook and am shamelessly making up the numbers to reach 150 books this year. Set in the 1850s, and I should specify in Edith Wharton's 50s, that is to say, the Old New York of the top of the upper crust of distinguished family names, splendour, old money and stifling social conventions, it tells the story of two cousins, one pretty and married, the other rather plain and unwed and mother to an illegitimate little girl. Charlotte, who is about to be married into the same respectable family as her cousin Mrs. Deliah Ralston, confides to her cousin and begs for her help, as she fears that her marriage will separate her from her secret love child Tina forever. Deliah, whose first loyalty goes to her family by marriage, ensures that the wedding plans are cancelled to prevent the scandal from attaching itself to the too respectable Ralstons, though she promises to take care of Tina herself. Years go by, Deliah is widowed, the cousins live together, and Tina is now a very attractive girl of marriageable age. Charlotte is known to the girl as 'Aunt Charlotte the old maid', and she affectionately considers Deliah to be her mother, and of course the secret of her real origins are unknown to her. The two older women have found this to be the best compromise, but there are unexpressed jealousies and resentments seething under the surface, which suddenly erupt when a young man starts making too frequent visits to the house. When Wharton wrote this story, it was already relegated to historical fiction, describing mores that had been long out of fashion, but the core of the tale is timeless, telling of love and passion and the mysteries of motherly love and the bonds that unify women. I couldn't help but shed a sentimental tear or two at the end, and perhaps it is a sentimental story, but they should all be so well told.

36 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Feather
  • Feather
  • 13/06/2010

Touching story, well read

Edith Wharton doesn't disappoint. This story is not long, but it is packed with insight, and beautifully written. Eleanor Bron does a fine job of interpreting the text.

17 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Beverly
  • Beverly
  • 14/08/2010

A Superb Tale

I thoughly enjoyed this wonderful story read with such care by Eleanor Bron. Fans of Edith Wharton should enjoy this immensely.

11 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di murray
  • murray
  • 19/12/2014

sorry it ended so soon

If you could sum up The Old Maid in three words, what would they be?

elegant clarity of language

What did you like best about this story?

the truthfulness of the characters and the way time is treated

Which character – as performed by Eleanor Bron – was your favorite?

not the old maid but the real hero of the story

10 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    4 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di John C.
  • John C.
  • 04/07/2015

No Old Maid: Wharton Remains Young &Timeless

This is just the outline of a story, lacking depth for all but the two main characters, yet it is rich in striking turns of phrase and psycholgical and emotional complexity.

Interestingly it seem very personal to Wharton as her sympathies seem clear and less at arms length.

If I had to some up the story, "no good deed goes unpunished."

3 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Queenmum
  • Queenmum
  • 28/03/2015

A beautiful story by an under appreciated writer

The society of the late 19th century is as alien to young people of today as the craters of the moon. This lovely and penetrating story pulls back the curtain for a moment. I hope young listeners will have the patience for a writing style that is no longer practiced but is masterly. The narrator could not have been better.

3 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    4 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Cariola
  • Cariola
  • 08/05/2015

A Little Gem

As her wedding day approaches, Charlotte Lowell reveals a long-hidden secret to her married cousin, Delia Ralston: the foundling that she has been visiting as a charity project is actually her own daughter, born as the result of a brief affair with one of Delia's former beaux. (Don't worry--no spoilers; this is something you learn in the first few chapters, and I promise to give nothing else away.) The reactions, decisions, and solutions that follow will deeply affect the lives of the two women, as well as that of the little girl, Tina.

As so often, Wharton sets her story in upper crust New York society at the end of the nineteenth century, a world propelled by money, property, lineage, and rigid rules of etiquette. But the most interesting aspect of The Old Maid is the shifting relationship between the cousins, Delia and "Chatty" (Charlotte). Wharton delves deep into their psychology, exploring their fears, resentments, and motivations over the course of twenty years, all of them revolving around the often conflicting values of maternal love and family loyalties. This is, as another reviewer noted, a sentimental story--but not in a maudlin, melodramatic way. I consider it a fine addition to my Wharton shelf.

On the reader: The thing that bothered me most was that she made Charlotte sound like a very old lady--even when she was supposed to be in her 20s.

2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Kelly Garland
  • Kelly Garland
  • 27/03/2015

Classic Edith W

Enjoyed this little gem.
Calm, self- assured narration much appreciated . More of these shorts would be most welcome by me

2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di L.W.
  • L.W.
  • 27/03/2015

Wharton wrote it....

What made the experience of listening to The Old Maid the most enjoyable?

If the author is Wharton it is a classic. This story has been told before and since but each author shares their particular flavor of writing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Old Maid?

For me it is the question of why the girl cannot be beloved by both. For she was beloved by both. Why does there always have to be a bad guy. I understood the emotional struggle but just once can we not write a story in which all are magnamous.
*The moment Adeline makes the decision Charlotte cannot marry. And follows thru on that decision by changing the rest of her life. I had to wonder about the emotions leading to that. That could have been the wall remaining a lifetime. Maybe Charlotte regretted sharing her secret with her most trusted relative. Or maybe she savored telling her. This book could be discussed a lot.

Have you listened to any of Eleanor Bron’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was my first with this narrator. I had some problems separating the characters by sound.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes I did.

2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Mimi Routh
  • Mimi Routh
  • 04/05/2015

Rustling Petticoats and Heart-Wrenching Decisions!

I may have found Wharton boring in the past. In a way she's like watching paint dry. This is more about the listener's energy than maturity or sophistication. It's not a judgment. Someone caring for little kids or doing customer service or crazy-busy restaurant work probably could not settle to this. The way Wharton can deal with thoughts and actions from minute to minute is quite wonderful. And analysis of the psychology, wow!

We are told about their trendy décor and their beautiful clothes or "turned" dresses which have been taken apart, cleaned, steamed and brushed, and remade with new trim so as to be presentable in society. We hear about cheeks so naturally bright that one might think she painted, i.e., used makeup like a trashy woman! We hear about their meals and visits and shopping, the servants. And the terrible pressure to do the right thing, carry on family tradition, meet all the social pressures. The decisions they must make are as demanding as any that face us.

I loved the description of the square in the snow late at night and both women watching for the girl to come home from the ball. It is almost a "cut the baby in half" situation as in the Bible. The aunt is upstairs. The real mom is waiting by the door, knowing how very easy it is for a girl to bring her sweetheart into one of those great houses when everyone is asleep . . . because the real mom has been there done that. The aunt upstairs is chilly in her beautiful shawl. She hears the door. Time passes. Then the young man stands down in the square looking up at the house, then walks away. And the girl comes upstairs in her finery, still intact. . . .

This narrator has a pleasant voice and reads very well. Some mispronunciations caught my attention. On a second listen, I heard more. Indigent. Grimace. A couple more. And as another reviewer said, the voices are not perfectly differentiated. I noticed one of the women talking like a man at one point. Faintly bothersome. Still a wonderful listen. I can hardly wait to hear more Wharton.

1 persona l'ha trovata utile

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  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di JAO
  • JAO
  • 28/02/2020

A Gem

Classic Edith's Wharton; crisp writing, attention to detail and credible three-dimensional characters. An enjoyable two hours and forty-seven minutes.

2 persone l'hanno trovata utile

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Pamela
  • Pamela
  • 23/12/2021

Nothing is New!

As the saying goes there's no tale like an od tale. And no doubt this is a truism simply because, despite the march of time and changes in social manners and mores, people are people.
The novella concerns the choices made when people are too young to understand their own personalities and what they need and want from life. Then for the rest of people's lives, these decisions play out and they live through those irreversible decisions.
Delia, well-married to dull Jim, rejected passion and is conventionally a success. Cousin Charlotte followed her heart once and doomed herself to be an old maid. In the balance between them is Tina, officially a mysterious foundling.
To be truthful I am not sure how much I got out of this book and offers a bleak landscape of people's lives. And for me, it is the pointless polarizing discussions about a subject that can never be resolved.

1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di M. Coakley
  • M. Coakley
  • 24/01/2023

Another Wharton Gem

A wonderful story from The Gilded Age era . Very moving. The narration was excellent.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di richard2
  • richard2
  • 03/01/2023

This is a wonderful story

full of subtlety and deep feeling. The two protagonists are extraordinary characters, and their dilemma is truly a tragic one. I loved the reading - excellent.
I can’t help feeling this might have made a great 1940s film with Aunt Charlotte being played by Bette Davis !

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di Prof P. M. King
  • Prof P. M. King
  • 06/07/2022

Perfection

A moving, restrained, balanced little gem. A defining Wharton novelette in which the mores and attendant dilemmas of a long gone era are vividly evoked with a humour and compassion that keeps them timelessly fresh.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di S.MH.
  • S.MH.
  • 14/03/2022

Perfect in every way

Beautiful story- and there is simply no better narrator for Edith Wharton than Eleanor Bron.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
Immagine del profilo di C. A. Harfleet
  • C. A. Harfleet
  • 05/03/2022

Excellent writing and performance

I love Edith Wharton.always understated but with humanity and depth. Beautifully narrated. Entirely sympathetic to the story and style