Friday, December 03, 2010

Fiction Review: The Age of Innocence

My book group decided to read a classic this month (in fact, both of my book groups did!), and we chose Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, an author I had never read before.  It provided a nice escape during my vacation last week on the beach.

Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is about a love triangle set in the 1870's high society of New York City.  While I enjoyed it overall and can certainly see how Wharton's beautiful writing won the Pulitzer, I'm not generally a huge fan of period novels, especially those set in high society.  I find I get a bit impatient with the characters, as their strict societal rules keep them from relating to each other honestly. Perhaps this is why I have still never read a Jane Austen novel (though I do still plan to).

Despite this (not Wharton's flaw but my own!), I did admire the way Wharton drew a picture of a long-lost time and place.  She transported me back in time, and I had no trouble finishing the book.  In fact, I have requested the DVD of the movie from the library.  One of the things I love about book groups is how they help me broaden my reading horizons, and I'm glad to have read this classic.


  1. I was also averse to reading books with characters in high society because of their ignorance & snobbery. But I did read Pride & Prejudice (finally!) by Jane Austen and it was quite good, so I hope to read more. This one sounds like a great followup!

  2. What a timely post. In late October I visited Edith Wharton's home, The Mount, in Lenox, MA. I knew nothing about her before touring her home and learned enough to pique my interest. I have since read a YA Biography of her and have discovered that she was a quite an accomplished and independent woman. I have since been wanting to read one of her books and had decided on The Age of Innocence, since it won the Pulitzer. Quite the coincidence! I will have to move this book up on my list.

    BTW, I've never read any Austen either.