Wharton’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in upper class New York City. Newland Archer, gentleman lawyer and heir to one of New York City's best families, is happily anticipating a highly desirable marriage to the sheltered and beautiful May Welland. Yet he finds reason to doubt his choice of bride after the appearance of Countess Ellen Olenska, May's exotic, beautiful 30-year-old cousin, who has been living in Europe. This novel won the first ever Pulitzer awarded to a woman.
Public Domain (P)2013 Trout Lake Media
Normally I listen to audiobooks during my commute, but for Age of Innocence (by Edith Wharton, narrated by Mary Sarah), I tried simultaneous listening and reading. By taking this approach, I immediately noticed several issues of missing words or using the wrong words.
Instead of "But then Regina always does what he tells her," the narrator said, "But when Regina always does what tells her."
Instead of "There was a cousinly murmur of pleasure," the narrator said, "There was a cousinly rumor of pleasure."
This interrupted the flow of the experience. These interruptions added to a dislike for the way that the narrator overused volume variation (in the same repeatable pattern).
When she missed words or used the wrong words, my disappointment grew but I tried to soldier on. However, later I found what I deduced to be whole lines of text missed by the narrator. What I heard was nonsensical and it did not match the text. This led to immediate buyer's remorse. I don't fault the narrator on this one. Mistakes happen. This is a producer/director's fault.
At that point, I was so frustrated that I had to put it down and never finished. I tried to return it so that I could try a different narrator, but it was not eligible for return.
Here are two outcomes worth sharing:
1. I will be more cautious when making purchases and take very seriously the "performance" rating by other reviewers. Before, I would eagerly make mass purchases from my Wish List, especially for Pulitzer or Newbery winners.
2. I developed a mistrust of audiobooks. I will take a Berean approach before forming opinions of the written work based upon the audio version.
I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!
I wish I had the patience to sit through this narrator's reading one more time. As it was, I had to reverse and listen to sections over and over again due to her artistic choices so I feel like I have already listened to this book three or four times!
I love the passion of the two key characters, Newland and Ellen, which is heightened by their inability to declare their love openly. Any scene in which they appear together is tense but passionate...and certainly memorable.
No. While she articulates the prose well and reads Wharton's novel with enthusiasm, I felt her artistic choice to open every sentence loudly and end it in a whisper was difficult and annoying. I had to hit the rewind button far too many times which seriously harmed the experience for me,
The three main characters - Newland, Ellen and May - are memorable and deeply drawn. While May is depicted as an innocent child-woman, she turns out to be very clever indeed. Bit. my favorite character is Newland, who maintains his dignity despite his passionate love for Ellen. Ultimately, he makes the right choice but his passion is deeply felt.
Although it's difficult to believe in our modern times that two people in love could have their love constrained in such a way, the novel's depiction of this forbidden love is beautifully rendered.
I'm a geologist and I use Audible books to while away long hours on the road... My pickup truck is my reading room!
This is my first Wharton novel, and it is not an easy one to critique. It is a well-crafted novel; one can enjoy the prose and lose sight of the fact that the story is rather formulaic, and the crises happen mostly off-stage, and the book continues too long beyond the emotional denoument.
Wharton, like Wilde, writes brilliant sentences but doesn't quite manage to assemble them into a brilliant novel. I may read more of her, but it will be to enjoy her gem-quality prose, not for her storytelling.
The production is substandard. Fault for this lies equally with the narrator and the producer. The narrator tends to hurry her reading too much, and the producer has allowed too many re-reads and awkwards pauses to remain in the final recording.
This is a wonderful but the reader Mary Sarah is so terrible I stopped after two chapters to see if I can find a better reader. Avoid her! She can't speak proper English, never mind French.
Imagine Juliet Stevenson
I feel like I should get a credit for this bad purchase. I guess I should have read the reviews.
The narrator did not seem capable of "changing her voice" to distinguish one character from the other though I applaud her efforts
He could've had her. So frustrating!!! Great story just so dang frustrating!! I don't have 8 more words. Men don't stand by their duty like this anymore.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Yes, but only because it's easier for me to listen while I work, than take the time to read the book.
I admired May the most, even though the author wrote her as "someone without imagination". In the long run, May knew exactly what was going on, gave the lovers a chance to go in a different direction, but they refused to go their own way and buck society's rules.
The grandmamma character was well done.
There is a film, but I think it would be
"Can you live your life for love?"
I enjoyed this story of a man who falls in love with a married woman, whom he talks out of divorcing and leaves her with the choice of returning to her husband, (who is hinted as being an abusive man) or living a life of genteel poverty alone. His fear is that she will become the mistress of one man or another and yet he marries her cousin and leaves her behind.
I found the ending very poignant and true. Sometimes we long for something and that longing is more important than the actual fulfillment of the thing you long for. I did do some crying over this one.
A great novel, and a great narrator as well. Good choice of voice for the story. My only complaint was: at the end of each chapter there was such a long pause, that nearly every time I changed chapters, I thought something about my device had malfunctioned.
In the next to last chapter when Archer finally has the light bulb go off and realize the rest of the family thinks he is in a physical affair when in fact it is everything but physical. Silly man!
The narrator went too fast and did not have different character voices. Also, I had to keep changing the volume. I reduced the speed to 3/4 and could follow along. However, I did miss much of the details due to the volume issue and lack of identifying the character.
"Nice bittersweet story, average performance,"
I really enjoyed the heady atmosphere of the writing, the narration could do better. The society that Wharton criticises is brought to life well by the narrator, but everything feels a little too fast moving and rushed. I would recommend listening to it at a slightly lower speed.
"Dry narration and slow plot"
I found the narration dry and uninteresting. I kept drifting away and not being bothered to go back to where I was last paying attention and I just found there to be nothing in the story to hold my attention.
I don't think so. I would like to give her another go by physically reading her, however, as I've enjoyed short stories by her previously.
I have Anne of Green Gables narrated by her, but if I don't get along with that - I've already read it physically so I know I like the story - then I won't be listening to anything else narrated by Mary Sarah.
Disappointment. I really, really wanted to like it.
"Narrator - say no"
Edith yes, narrator no. Very odd, staccato delivery; bizarre intonation and frequent mis-pronunciations. The performance marred my enjoyment of the story.
encapsulates the rigidity of the American upper class rites. Male protagonist is for the time of its writing, unusually in passive role whilst the matriarchs move the action on.
Alan Carr would have done a better job.
Errr that would be DDL and Michelle Pfeiffer
Production was cheap. When narrator made mistake, clumsy edits or no edits. At one point you hear the narrator practise a word three times before getting it right.
"Read much too fast"
This book is read much too fast, I couldn't concentrate on the narrators voice so gave up trying to listen to it and bought another version by a different narrator instead.
"Lyrical voice; gentle story"
Mary Sarah tells this gentle story of unrequited love in 1870s New York in such a quiet, unassuming way, you may well drop off to sleep. You've been warned. Wharton was the first woman to win the Pullitzer Prize with The Age Of Innocence in 1921. And its subtle and often ironical depiction of the mores and manners of the rich and fashionable New York set confirms why. Perfect for a holiday read when you don't want the blood pressure raised.
"A disapointing so called classic"
I listened to the age of innocence as I had heard about it but never read it , I listened all the way through getting more and more bored with it though the reader was very good and the indolence of the rich in that era came across very well there was simply no substance to the story it just went on and on with every chapter very much the same ,though I am glad to have read it I will not read it again as with many other classics I have loved
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