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The Rise of Silas Lapham  By  cover art

The Rise of Silas Lapham

By: William Dean Howells
Narrated by: Grover Gardner
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Publisher's Summary

Howells’ best-known work and a subtle classic of its time, The Rise of Silas Lapham is an elegant tale of Boston society and manners.

After garnering a fortune in the paint business, Silas Lapham moves his family from their Vermont farm to the city of Boston in order to improve his social position. The consequences of this endeavor are both humorous and tragic as the greedy Silas brings his company to the brink of bankruptcy.

The novel focuses on important themes in the American literary tradition - the efficacy of self-help and determination, the ambiguous benefits of social and economic progress, and the continual contradiction between urban and pastoral values - and provides a paradigm of American culture in the Gilded Age.

Public Domain (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Again and again in  Indian Summer, the felicity of the writing makes us pause in admiration.… A midlife crisis has rarely been sketched in fiction with better humor, with gentler comedy and more gracious acceptance of life’s irrevocability.” (John Updike on  Indian Summer)
“[A] delicious novel of romance in late 19th-century Italy.” ( Washington Post on  Indian Summer)

What listeners say about The Rise of Silas Lapham

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I enjoyed this story and can’t say I had read its like

“The Rise of Silas Lapham” is a curious title for a story that starts with a successful man and proceeds to chart his humbling. But a rise it is, for he’s tested and prevails. I don’t mind admitting that I like such a story. What’s more, I enjoyed the romantic drama that unfolds with the second generation. All the characters have their distinct personalities; their relationships are by turns warm and witty (when they’re not at odds); and the peek into another time and place satisfies the voyeurism that compels any reading of a novel. Top it with a splendid performance by one of the top readers in the business, and I am happy.

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Waste of time

Mainly a just a group of dudes sitting around in an office talking about boring pasts.