The Custom of the Country Edith Wharton - Edith Whartons lacerating satire on marriage and materialism in turn-of-the-century New York features her most selfish, ruthless, and irresistibly outrageous female character. Undine Spragg is an exquisitely beautiful but ferociously acquisitive young woman from the Midwest who comes to New York to seek her fortune. She achieves her social ambitionsbut only at the highest cost to her family, her admirers, and her several husbands. Wharton lavished on Undine an imaginative energy that suggests she was as fascinated as she was appalled by the alluring monster she had created. It is the complexity of her attitude that makes The Custom of the Countrywith its rich social and emotional detail and its headlong narrative powerone of the most fully realized and resonant of her works.Written in 1913 by major American writer Edith Wharton, "The Custom of the Country" follows a young womans ruthless ambition to excel within a judgemental Manhattan society. It is Whartons ninth novel and with its subject matter revolving around divorce, reflects Whartons own life around this time, when the author divorced and moved to France permanently.Its themes include the peril of materialism, selfishness and narcissism, and the cruelty brought on by ruthless ambition. Often told from the vantage point of the protagonist, the novel never strays from third-person perspective.