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5 classic novels that beautifully explore the dark side of life in New York City

The city that never sleeps may hide behind the logo of a shiny Big Apple, but for some life in New York is as spikey and lethal as a ball of nails. Here are 5 classic novels that wonderfully reveal both the dark and the light in the experiences of New Yorkers throughout the decades.

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The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, Penguin Books, 368 pp.

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1. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton is the quintessential Manhattan novelist. A society girl from the late 1800s herself, Wharton writes insightfully and brilliantly about New York high society in The House of Mirth. Her protagonist, Lily Bart, is a captivating, delicate, struggling socialite of few economic means who flits around Manhattan trying to scrape by enough to survive. You will be entranced by Lily, who seems too fragile and innocent for the cut-throat, harsh world she lives in.

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