For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of books on disgrace. One novel on the list.
The House of MirthRead about another book on the list.
by Edith Wharton
The compromised woman has been a popular constant in the literature of disgrace: By the time Edith Wharton wrote "The House of Mirth," the Victorian novel had rather gorged itself on this horror. Wharton offers a more modern account of female dependence and vulnerability, one better suited to the social and material aspirations of her time. Wharton's genius was for showing the way a society processes its moral problems by destroying individuals. The monied New York that is her milieu here is wavering between the Christian propriety of the Old World and the amoral materialism of the New. Lily Bart is the victim, in a sense, of this vacillation. Her journey to disgrace is a brilliantly riddling one: She finds herself unable to marry cynically, and so she tries, feebly, to break through into a new independence in her relationships with men and in her attitude toward money. Half a century later she would have succeeded; as it is, she finds herself cast out and meets an end of singular ignominy and pathos.
The House of Mirth appears among Kate Christensen's six books that she rereads all the time; it appears on Robert McCrum's top ten list of books for Obama officials.
Rachel Cusk's Arlington Park is one of Adam Thorpe's top 10 satires.