***Group Read: The Age of Innocence

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***Group Read: The Age of Innocence

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1billiejean
Editado: Out 3, 2011, 2:21pm

The book for this last quarter of 2011 is The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I have been looking forward to reading this for a long, long time! I hope to start reading in about a week or so. Please feel free to jump in at any time with any comments. :)

2rainpebble
Out 4, 2011, 5:38pm

Thanks --bj :-)

3sarahemmm
Out 5, 2011, 1:38am

I managed to acquire a 3-in-1 book which includes The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. (Possibly unwisely) I read the whole thing in one go; I think it was a bit too much for me! Will comment more when you have all got a bit further into it.

4corinneblackmer
Out 11, 2011, 11:15am

My comment would be on the title, and its relationship to the characters. It seems to me that the only character who is innocent in this book, and whose behavior shows that he represents an "Age of Innocence," is Newland Archer. At one point, he tells Ellen Olenska that he wishes that they could run off to some "utopia" (or, u-topos) where social norms and conventions did not matter. Ellen sagely replies that she knows of no such place, unless he is referring to a disreputable demimonde of people who live near fashionable resorts. Later, he learns that his wife, who he had assumed was innocent, has known all along the sacrifices of love he has made for her. It is not that often that it is the man who is the innocent in a novel, rather than the woman. I love this book.

5billiejean
Out 12, 2011, 12:58pm

#4> Interesting!

I have finally started the book today, and in the first chapter, I thought the comment about the opera sung in Italian was hilarious!

6rainpebble
Out 14, 2011, 12:57pm

I am right behind you billiejean. I started the book last night. Ditto your remark regarding the opera...too, too funny.
I love Wharton's writing and am rather surprised that at having 2 copies of the book, owning 15 of her books, having read 5 of them with Ethan Frome having been read numerous times, & it being a Virago....I have not yet read this one. I am looking forward to it....only about 90 pages in thus far.
But can't you just see Newland Archer leaning against the back of his opera box; the better to see and not be seen? I visualized a black slinky cat reclined against the wall when I read that and had to smile.

7billiejean
Out 14, 2011, 4:05pm

Love the comparison of Archer to a black slinky cat! I have finished 13 chapters and hope to finish the first part soon.

8billiejean
Out 15, 2011, 12:41pm

I have just finished Part 1 and it certainly ends with a bang. I am wondering what will happen next? Is she a happily ever after type of author?

9rainpebble
Out 16, 2011, 6:55am

Now you don't really want us to answer that question, do you billiejean?

I finished the book a couple hours ago and I really enjoyed this read. I will try not to use any spoilers here. (perhaps we should throw up a spoiler thread as well) I think I could rename this book "The Art of Living in Glass Houses" because these people live for the effect that they have on others or for how they want others to think of them. I had a mother like that.........oh, wait........I still do. lol!~! (Ruined MY life.)
I loved the comparison between "old New York" and Europe. It sounds like for this time frame people lived a much freer lifestyle in Europe than in New York. And the way marriages were described.........I hate to say it but I imagine that a lot of marriages are still like that today; having a sameness to them. hmmmmmm,
Well, going to bed. 3:50 A.M. here.........more on this saga tomorrow.
I hope the rest of you who are reading The Age of Innocence are enjoying it as well. I want to see the movie with Daniel Day Lewis now. (I think that is who was in it. He, Wynona Ryder & Michelle Pfieffer) not sure though.

10billiejean
Out 16, 2011, 9:07am

You can post spoilers here. I guess maybe I should have made two threads -- one for each part. Sorry about that. I didn't look that closely at the book because I had to wait a while longer before starting. I am hoping to finish next week.

11billiejean
Out 16, 2011, 9:08am

By the way, I love all the discussion about the title of the book. I had wondered about it myself.

12billiejean
Out 27, 2011, 6:23pm

I just finished the book, and I thought it was a terrific read. It is interesting to me how the main character of Newland Archer fights society and lives within it. Of course, he put himself into the position that he fought against. I thought the ending was amazing, too.

13sarahemmm
Out 30, 2011, 6:26am

Yes, I liked the ending.

I find it extraordinary how almost everyone accepted the requirements of an absolutely rigid society. The last century can be seen as an increasing rebellion against that, though we do still have remarkably rigid rules - just not quite the same as the 1860s!

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