The Reef

By Edith Wharton
Read by Kristen Underwood

10.72 Hours 12/01/1998 unabridged
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The Reef follows the fancies of George Darrow, a young diplomat en route from London to France, intent on proposing to the widowed Anna Leath. Unsettled by Anna’s reticence, Darrow drifts into an affair with Sophy Viner, a charmingly naïve and impecunious young woman whose relations with Darrow and Anna’s family threaten his prospects for success. The affair becomes the reef on which four lives are in danger of foundering: two of them innocent, and two of them burdened with experience and tinged with desperation. A challenge to the moral climate of the day, this story of the drastic effects of a casual sexual betrayal offers a clear-eyed assessment of the possibilities and limitations of human love.

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Summary

Summary

The Reef follows the fancies of George Darrow, a young diplomat en route from London to France, intent on proposing to the widowed Anna Leath. Unsettled by Anna’s reticence, Darrow drifts into an affair with Sophy Viner, a charmingly naïve and impecunious young woman whose relations with Darrow and Anna’s family threaten his prospects for success. The affair becomes the reef on which four lives are in danger of foundering: two of them innocent, and two of them burdened with experience and tinged with desperation.

A challenge to the moral climate of the day, this story of the drastic effects of a casual sexual betrayal offers a clear-eyed assessment of the possibilities and limitations of human love.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“The novel…was most enthusiastically admired by Henry James, and one can see why, for it is most Jamesian…It marks the peak of her most brilliant period of creativity…And for us it is a chance to see what can be achieved in the pursuit of moral truths.” Anita Brookner, New York Times bestselling author
“Underwood does a stellar job of interpreting the characters, deftly giving each a distinct voice and allowing the tension between characters to seem natural—and inevitable—due to their personalities…With her graceful, well paced reading, Underwood gives it the attention it deserves.” Kliatt
“The Reef exemplifies [Wharton’s] close observation of Americans in France, their inner lives and social conflicts.” Audiofile
“A complex, subtle, and moving story of the ways in which people torment one another and the awful power of retrospective jealousy.” Penelope Lively

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was born in New York and is best known for her stories of life among the upper-class society into which she was born. She was educated privately at home and in Europe. In 1894 she began writing fiction, and her novel The House of Mirth established her as a leading writer. Her novels The Age of Innocence and Old New York were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first woman to receive that honor. In 1929 she was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 10.72
Audience: Adult
Language: English