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The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton
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The Bunner Sisters (original 1916; edition 2011)

by Edith Wharton

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1961760,038 (3.59)38
Member:kayclifton
Title:The Bunner Sisters
Authors:Edith Wharton
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2011), Paperback, 82 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton (1916)

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The Bunner Sisters by Edith Wharton takes place in a shabby neighbourhood in New York City. The two sisters keep a shop selling women’s accessories, like artificial flowers. They barely make ends meet, but by doing some extra sewing, Ann Eliza, the elder sister, is able to give the younger sister, Evelina a clock for her birthday. Although Ann Eliza has come to terms with her spinsterhood, Evelina still clings to the hope of marriage. When the sisters develop a relationship with the clock-maker, Mr Ramy, both sisters are attracted to him. Mr Ramy seems like a quiet, gentleman who would make a fine husband, but it turns out that he is not what he seems. The sister’s fragile sensibilities and naivety leads to their placing trust where it shouldn’t have been placed.

First and foremost, this story is a tragedy, a dark tale of poverty, loneliness and despair. Edith Wharton excels in stories that are full of melancholy and repressed emotions. In The Bunner Sisters she expertly pulls on the reader’s heartstrings with this quietly affecting, emotional read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 20, 2017 |
Written in the late nineteenth century but not published until 1916, Bunner Sisters details the story of two spinster sisters who share a clothing shop in the dingy backstreets of New York. One day, their ineffectual monotonous routine becomes something different when Ann Eliza gifts her younger sister Evelina a small clock for her birthday. Finding its place on a shelf in their shop, the clock will mark the unstoppable tempo of decay as the two sisters’ lives become forever changed. Life in Wharton’s short novel is unforgiving, but equally unrelentless -- like in her other works, it becomes defined by the constant struggle between social and individual fulfillment. The story’s pair of humble souls and their endurance of such gritty realities are difficult to forget, and Wharton’s literary capacities shine strongest during the novel’s closing scene.

Liked my review? Check out my book blog for more! ( )
  biblio-empire | Aug 15, 2016 |
her private longings shrank into silence at the sight of the other's hungry bliss'
By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A wonderful, wonderful read; unlike most of Wharton's work, it features not the upper classes, but a couple of impoverished spinster sisters, running a humble haberdasher's shop from their basement.
Life is uneventful until the elder, Ann Eliza, decides to buy Evelina a clock. She goes into a little shop and becomes interested in the German owner - apparently a lonely bachelor. Could she contrive to meet him again?
"A sudden heart-throb stretched the seams of her flat alpaca bosom, and a pulse leapt to life in each of her temples."

Themes of self-sacrifice, sisterly devotion, anguish but also little humorous touches...I adored it. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
Sisters Ann Eliza and Eveline have a little button and bonnet shop in New York City. They barely make enough to feed themselves, yet they have a room to share and each other for company, so while they may both dream of what might have been, they are content to have each other. Then they meet Mr. Ramy, an unattractive, very poor but kind German clock-seller. He begins to take them around the city and both sisters have hopes for happiness with Mr. Ramy.
I read this on Kindle, so I'm not sure if it's considered a novella or a novel. It's Wharton, so it's great writing. Written with older sister Ann Eliza as the focus, we see the difficulty of unmarried women, lonely women who have just one person in the world to turn to. ( )
  mstrust | Apr 21, 2016 |
This is a short but excellent work by Edith Wharton. Ann Eliza and Evelina are sisters eking out a living in a small buttons and notions shop where customers are few and far between when Hermann Ramy, a clockmaker enters their lives. The sisters, starved for friendship, are overcome by Mr. Ramy's attentions, with dire consequences. This is another book, like Wharton's Summer which I read last year, in which she so successfully delves into characters far-removed from her own social class. The realities of the poor urban working class are clearly presented, and the plight of unmarried women in that time and place are also highlighted.
Highly recommended.

4 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 8, 2016 |
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In the days when New York's traffic moved at the pace of the drooping horse-car, when society applauded Christine Nilsson at the Academy of Music and basked in the sunsets of the Hudson River School on the walls of the National Academy of Design, an inconspicuous shop with a single show-window was intimately and favourably known to the feminine population of the quarter bordering on Stuyvesant Square.
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