With an introduction by Jia Tolentino
Ambitious and wholeheartedly materialistic, Undine Spragg is a beautiful heiress who sees men as a means to an end. New York millionaires and French aristocrats fall at her feet, but each conquest is merely a stepping-stone in Undine’s quest for power and position—and in her elusive search for happiness.
A biting satire from one of America’s greatest writers, The Custom of the Country features an antiheroine as compelling and driven as Scarlett O’Hara, a sharp-eyed critique of the marriage market and its objectification of women, and a knowing send-up of Gilded Age snobbery.
The Modern Library Torchbearers series features women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance:
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES • THE AWAKENING • THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY • THE HEADS OF CERBERUS • LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET • LOVE, ANGER, MADNESS • PASSING • THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN • VILLETTE
In this remarkable collection, New York Times bestselling novelist Edan Lepucki gathers more than sixty original essays and favorite photographs to explore this question. The daughters in Mothers Before are writers and poets, artists and teachers, and the images and stories they share reveal the lives of women in ways that are vulnerable and true, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always moving.
Jennine Capó Crucet