Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize
The Age of Innocence is set in the upper class society of New York City. The book begins with Newland Archer, the heir to one of the best families, eagerly awaiting his marriage to the beautiful, but quiet May Welland. The arrival of May’s cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska from Europe, leads Newland to question his choice of bride as he finds himself falling for Ellen.
I’m afraid that I didn’t enjoy this book – it annoyed me from the very first page:
I just don’t enjoy reading about people whinging – especially when they are among the most priviliedged in society. I found all the characters to be dull and I didn’t care about them at all. They just seemed to go from one non-drama to the next, continually fretting about insignificant things.
There was something about the writing style that I didn’t like. It could have been the overuse of brackets, or the repetition of the word “darling!”, but whatever it was this book wound me up as much as it bored me.
There were a few reasonable sections and the ending was actually one of the better parts of the book, but overall I was very disappointed.
I seem to be alone in disliking this book. Reviewers on Amazon describe it as “a work of beautifully subtle observation and delicacy”, “beautifully written, haunting and evocative” and “deeply moving”. I guess I just like reading about people with real problems, or dilemmas that I might have to face one day. I can only enjoy these lighter romances if they make me laugh and I’m afraid that this book failed to do that.
Recommended to those who enjoy gentle, observational books about those with more money than sense!
Did you enjoy The Age of Innocence?
Will I enjoy any of her other books?