Book Talk: The Age of Innocence

 

 

This book talk has taken a long time to come. If you don't know, I have a book reading challenge called the All Thingz Bookish reading challenge where I challenge you to read 12 books, ideally one book per month. I also have a list of books that I plan on reading this year. There are no hard and fast rules. You can read when you like, what you like. You can read something from the list I made or make a list of your own. The idea is to read 12 books this year. Click here to know more about the details of this challenge.

 

Getting on with the book talk. 

I started reading the age of innocence a while back, but due to health reasons, I was not able to finish it until now. I have to admit had to read the first couple of chapters to get back into the book but that is entirely my fault. 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton is a classic I had heard of but never read before. I decided to read this as my reading challenge under Read a classic romance. This is the first book I had read by the author who wrote this book in the 1920s when she was already established as a writer. This book was also nominated for Pulitzer Price. 

The story takes place in New York in the 1870s, and you followed the character Newland Archer as he is about to propose the woman, May Welland, he has been courting. They are to get engaged when he finds out that Mays cousin and Ellen who was married and living in France, is back. He learns that Ellen was unhappy with the marriage, which he later learns, was an abusive one, and is planning to get a divorce. 

Soon it turns into a love triangle where Newland finds himself developing feelings for Ellen given that they shared a history together. There was a lot of talks that if Ellen had not left New York the two would have married.

There is a contrast in Newland's character where in the beginning he seems to love and be drawn by May's traditional nature and her dependable nature. But with Ellen in the picture, who is completely different independent and speak some mind, Newland finds himself appreciating these characteristics. 

It is so interesting to see how the society was at the time, the different classes, etiquettes, norms, and traditions that were followed and the need to uphold them. It is interesting to see how the characters of Newland develops throughout the book and his view of the word change. Since this book is set in a time quite different from ours I had some difficulties understanding some nuances of jokes and references, so I had to refer to the cliff notes.


You anticipate an affair and see the struggle that Newland goes through, but the ending is not quite what you would expect. The ending can be considered quite controversial as there is a clear divide between people who like it and those who don't. However, I found myself enjoying the book and rationalizing the decisions the characters make.

This is a classic and should be read with that in mind. If you're looking to read this book, I would definitely recommend this one.


My rating is five stars.

 

If you haven’t check out the All Thingz Bookish Challenge, click here. If you are participating in this challenge, click a photo of yourself reading a book and use #allthingzbookish on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Book Blurb:


Newland Archer saw little to envy in the marriages of his friends, yet he prided himself that in May Welland he had found the companion of his needs--tender and impressionable, with equal purity of mind and manners. The engagement was announced discreetly, but all of New York society was soon privy to this most perfect match, a union of families and circumstances cemented by affection.         Enter Countess Olenska, a woman of quick wit sharpened by experience, not afraid to flout convention and determined to find freedom in divorce. Against his judgment, Newland is drawn to the socially ostracized Ellen Olenska, who opens his eyes and has the power to make him feel. He knows that in sweet-tempered May, he can expect stability and the steadying comfort of duty. But what new worlds could he discover with Ellen? Written with elegance and wry precision, Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a tragic love story and a powerful homily about the perils of a perfect marriage.