The writing is fantastic. I love it. Characterization and all technical aspects are everything I would expect from a classic. As I read, though, I find myself growing contemptful of Newland Archer as a person and New York Society as a whole. The only character I have any empathy for is the Countess Olinska. Everyone else spends their time (very eloquently) sniveling over the minor inconveniences experienced by the ultra-wealthy. I get that this is the struggle between the needs and desires of humanity warring against the opressive social constructs of the time, but the whole thing just feels almost like a satire. Maybe that is what Wharton was going for. Who knows. I'm going to finish the book if for no other reason than to enjoy Ms. Wharton's fantastic turn of phrase, but if an errant urchin knifed Newland in the street I wouldn't so much as twitch an eyebrow. Thoughts?