Book #37: Bunner Sisters

Not sure what there is, really, for me to say about Edith Wharton’s Bunner Sisters.

It kind of reminds me of Ethan Frome (which I have not read in its entirety, but I know the story anyway) in that it’s just sort of about these two semi-pathetic characters. And then it ends kind of badly.

Bunner Sisters doesn’t really have much resolution. It tells the story of two spinster sisters who run a store in New York City.

Ann Eliza and her younger sister Evelina run – and live in – a shop in a rather seedy, run-down part of New York. Their shop is not doing particularly well and they are just barely getting by. Then, of course, comes the German clock shop owner Herman Ramy.

Ramy charms the sisters and they both fall in love with him.

The trouble is that the sisters are naive. They are own their own and, evidently, don’t understand how things work in the world.

It probably goes without saying that the story doesn’t really end well. Mr. Ramy is not the wonderful man he seems to be, and the sisters wind up suffering for it.

To be honest, I don’t have a lot to say about Bunner Sisters (which is why it’s taking me like ten days to write this post). I guess it’s a pretty good example of turn-of-the-century(ish) realism. Wharton captures the not-so-glamorous aspect of early twentieth century New York life. She doesn’t sugar-coat or paint over the bad situation. She doesn’t even really leave the story off on any positive note. Bunner Sisters pretty much “tells it like it is.” It’s short and to the point.

Rating: ***
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