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The Magnificent Ambersons

Booth Tarkington

Book Overview: 

In a world where a gentleman’s life is defined more “by being, rather than by doing,” a family’s reputation can be compromised if it is not guarded carefully, and the sole heir of the Amberson family is proving himself to be a difficult person. Expected by the family to carry on its proud traditions, George Amberson Minafer is trusted implicitly. But though rich relatives provide the elegant suits, the handsome young man who wears them is filled with little but appearances. And this happens in spite of, or perhaps, because of, his mother’s selfless love that places him above her own happiness.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Lucy exclaimed. "We stayed there late enough last night: papa and I were almost the last to go. He and your mother and Miss Fanny Minafer got the musicians to play another waltz when everybody else had gone downstairs and the fiddles were being put away in their cases. Papa danced part of it with Miss Minafer and the rest with your mother. Miss Minafer's your aunt, isn't she?"

"Yes; she lives with us. I tease her a good deal."

"What about?"

"Oh, anything handy—whatever's easy to tease an old maid about."

"Doesn't she mind?"

"She usually has sort of a grouch on me," laughed George. "Nothing much. That's our house just beyond grandfather's." He waved a sealskin gauntlet to indicate the house Major Amberson had built for Isabel as a wedding gift. "It's almost the same as grandfather's, only not as large and hasn't got a regular ballroom. We gave the dance, last night, at grandfather's on account of the ballroom, a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

All the tropes of the All-American novel notwithstanding, the best part of "Magnificent Ambersons" is the creation of its protagonist, Georgie Amberson, perennial brat & complete a$$hole. His impressions on the town, of which he is the most affluent and expectation-filled member, of the riffraff, ar

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