Sunday, May 7, 2017

House of Mirth

You would think with a title like House of Mirth there would be some laughs in this book. I know this was published in 1905 and some contemporary cultural references would not translate.  You know, like watching the really old MST3K episodes. Huh, a Jessica Hahn reference.....ok, ok that takes me back. No, if there is humor in this, it's lost on me.  No one even slips on a banana peel.  That is a timeless gag. Australopithecus was laughing about banana peels.

House of Mirth is a Victorian type novel about a young pretty lady who is kind of broke.  Her main option, what she was brought up to do, was marry rich.  Now she could just become a pharmaceutical rep. Even if you don't marry--it's good money! No problem. Back then, less of an option.

There is some weird things in here about men that are still relevant. Any gift given by a man always has strings attached. Sex strings. Sex Strings would make a good name for a punk band album. The Concrete Pacifier's seminal album Sex Strings.

Edith Wharton grew up crazy rich so she knows what she is talking about with her fancy parties.  She also married rich but the husband had severe depression.  They didn't have Prozac in the olden times so that would have stunk. I guess you could have hired one of those Freudian psychologists that would have blamed his mother and too many phallic references in his childhood nursery.  A lot of good that would have done. Now you're lucky if you get a therapist to text you: eggplant, eggplant, sad face. 🍆🍆😢

This book is well written and not as long as some Victorian novels but this one is only for Dickens-type fans interested in turn of the century sexual politics and high society's complicated milieu.  I know that is all of you so don't rush the bookstore all at once.

Let's pretend we are rich even if we are eating peanut butter on spoons.  A cucumber, basil, lime gimlet seems like it would hit the spot this time of year.  1&1/2 ounces of vodka, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 small basil leaves, 1 ounce of lemonade and 1/4 ounce lime juice. Muddle the basil and cucumber add the rest of the ingredients with ice.  Shake well and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge or cucumber wheel. I'm planting my basil in batches this year so it doesn't come in all at once.  I call that the pestolence. (forgive my pun--I hate myself).

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