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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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1831464,645 (3.61)29
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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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 |
It has been a while since I read Edith Wharton. Moreover I am looking more carefully at the writing style of authors of so-called "classics". I found Wharton's style wonderfully economic, with each word of her descriptive prose making a difference. I almost said "colorful" descriptions, but the lives of the Bunner Sisters were not full of color in the terms of light and joy that is usually associated with color. But the characters are fully drawn, some surprising. I found it a compelling look at a time that I assume is around the turn of the century, working class women's lives, that I knew little about. This has filled in much detail in a striking way. ( )
  Lylee | Apr 3, 2016 |
252) Bunner Sisters


This is the tragic story of Ann Eliza and Evelina the Bunner sisters, the sisters while not happy are content with their shared lives running the Bunner Sisters shop until one day Ann Eliza buys her sister a clock for her birthday bringing the mysterious german Mr Ramy into their lives.

Mr Ramy ends up changing the sisters forever.

If you are looking for a happy ending you wont find it here, the ending is bleakly realistic.

This was a quick read which reminded me of The Old Wives Tale it is not in my 1001 so guess it has been removed at some point. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
The Bunner Sisters
by Edith Wharton
Originally published in Scribner’s Magazine 60 (October 1916): 439-458 and; Scribner’s Magazine 60 (November 1916): 575-596
Reprint 2007 by Alan Rogders Books, Ægypan Press

WHO: Evelina and Ann Eliza are two spinster sisters who develop an affection for the same German clock-maker, Mr. Ramy.
WHAT: One of the sisters, the younger, marginally prettier Evelina, marries Mr. Ramy and disappears from her sister’s life…
WHERE: which continues on in destitution at their shop near Stuyvesant Square in New York City (far from the rich milieus that Edith Wharton usually sets her stories…)
WHEN: "[i]n 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…" (early 1870s.)
WHY: The sisters are poor, in a world of inelegant language and limited hopes. Evelina pursued the opportunity to find love, happiness and, a future away from the confines of a basement shop & apartment by becoming Mrs. Ramy.
HOW: Evelina and Anna Eliza had a co-dependent relationship that enabled the events of the book to take place. Evelina was more of the egotist while Anna Eliza was more of the sacrificer. As Evelina continued flirting with Mr. Ramy, Anna Eliza ceded more of her own aspirations for the sake of her sister’s happiness.

+ This is something different from Edith Wharton: a story not about high society, or the tensions between old money and the nouveau riche; but a microcosm of life amongst the poor. For all that Edith Wharton never experienced such a life herself, she nonetheless depicts this world without condescension and with concentrated detail that brings the scenes into vivid life.
+ I wouldn’t go so far to say that the Bunner sisters themselves and the people they interact with are ennobled by their experiences; but there is something to be said for the stubbornness and fortitude they exercise that puts Lily Bart (cf The House of Mirth) to shame.
- There is a rather melodramatic scene near the end of Part II that seems nearly a parody of a morality play. While its lack of sophistication may be representative of a theatrical style popular at the time and, the commonness of it reflective of the atmosphere of the story, its crudeness stands out sharply against Wharton’s other more finely wrought scenes of melodrama (again, see The House of Mirth.)

OTHER: I bought a paperback trade edition of The Bunner Sisters (by Edith Wharton) from The Book Nook CT via Alibris.com.

- This is a reprint edition. On page 58, the narrative is interrupted by a copy editor’s note:

"NOTE: *** A Summary of Part I of "Bunner Sisters" appears on page 4 of the advertising pages."

I do not know the provenance of the note, but it is disconcerting :-/ ( )
2 vote Tanya-dogearedcopy | Sep 9, 2013 |
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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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