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The Age Of Innocence | [Edith Wharton]

The Age Of Innocence

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (170 )
5 star
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4.0 (143 )
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Story
3.7 (150 )
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Clodhopper Tucson, AZ, United States 07-10-13
    Clodhopper Tucson, AZ, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a geologist and I use Audible books to while away long hours on the road... My pickup truck is my reading room!

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    "Less than the sum of its parts"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 05-17-13
    Janna Wong Healy Los Angeles, CA 05-17-13 Member Since 2013

    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!

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    "Beautiful Book But Less-than-Beautiful Performance"
    Would you listen to The Age Of Innocence again? Why?

    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!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Age Of Innocence?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mary Sarah’s performances?

    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,


    Who was the most memorable character of The Age Of Innocence and why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-29-13
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2014

    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.

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    "Tale of unrequited love per society rules."
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Age Of Innocence to be better than the print version?

    Yes, but only because it's easier for me to listen while I work, than take the time to read the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Mary Sarah – was your favorite?

    The grandmamma character was well done.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    There is a film, but I think it would be
    "Can you live your life for love?"


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maggie connectibut 05-16-15
    maggie connectibut 05-16-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Amateur reader. Terrible pace and pronuniciation."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    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.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mary Sarah?

    Imagine Juliet Stevenson


    Any additional comments?

    I feel like I should get a credit for this bad purchase. I guess I should have read the reviews.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skipper 06-12-15
    Skipper 06-12-15

    Skipper

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    "The first Pulitzer awarded to a work of fiction"

    The narration was fine, and although the reading pace was fast, I didn't mind that. This book won the Pulitzer in 1921 — the first Pulitzer awarded to a female author, and the first for fiction. Set in about 1877 among New York's high society, Newland Archer falls in love with a slightly scandalous but good-hearted countess, Ellen Olinska. Two problems with that: She's already married to a womanizing cad in Poland, and he's already engaged to her cousin, a perfect blossom of society, aptly named May.

    Sad story. Poignant at times. Boring at times. It drones on long after the denouement, but some of the scenes are gems, and some sentences and dialogue reminded me of the style used by Georgette Heyer, who wrote her classic regencies and mysteries at the same time as Wharton.

    The final chapter, set 26 years later, moved me more than other part of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrell McCauley 06-08-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Performance Ratings Really Matter"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorrie Finley 05-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Omg!!!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Minneapolis, MN 05-07-15
    Amazon Customer Minneapolis, MN 05-07-15 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "The Rich Are More Whiny Than You & Me"
    Would you try another book from Edith Wharton and/or Mary Sarah?

    Yes. There is enough to like about this book, and the reader's performance, to try more.


    If you’ve listened to books by Edith Wharton before, how does this one compare?

    I've not.


    What does Mary Sarah bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her character depictions are differentiated enough to add depth, without interfering with the story.


    Did The Age Of Innocence inspire you to do anything?

    Whine less, and be even more appreciative of a strong marital relationship.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a book that starts and ends very strong, but in which the primary characters spend way too much time in whiny melodrama -- undermining the strength with which they are depicted before and after. Her main characters are extremely difficult to like or empathize with, even within the context of the time in which they are to have lived. It does provide some interesting insight into the workings of NYC high society during the late 19th century.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Pittman 04-09-15
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    "Not bad"
    Would you listen to The Age Of Innocence again? Why?

    Considering I only paid .95 cents for this, it was good. The narrator did pronounce some of the names wrong but other than that, I enjoyed the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heART seneca sc 12-08-13
    heART seneca sc 12-08-13 Member Since 2013

    I'm a professional painter and love ennobling, enlightening literature

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    "a classic that holds up with the passsge of time"
    What did you love best about The Age Of Innocence?

    the profound truths about human nature


    What did you like best about this story?

    how the characters react to one another


    Which scene was your favorite?

    the last one; outstanding!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    longing


    Any additional comments?

    at first I thought this book was somewhat boring and too "mannerly" and irrelevant for contemporary times, but by midpoint, I was thoroughly engaged and had intimations of the movie Body Heat in terms of the great longing one can have for what one cannot have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Iris
    5/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator - say no"
    Would you try another book written by Edith Wharton or narrated by Mary Sarah?

    Edith yes, narrator no. Very odd, staccato delivery; bizarre intonation and frequent mis-pronunciations. The performance marred my enjoyment of the story.


    What did you like best about this 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.


    Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Mary Sarah?

    Alan Carr would have done a better job.


    Could you see The Age Of Innocence being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    Errr that would be DDL and Michelle Pfeiffer


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adrienne
    WINDSOR, United Kingdom
    9/17/13
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    "Read much too fast"
    What disappointed you about The Age Of Innocence?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    4/10/13
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Leicester, United Kingdom
    4/8/13
    Overall
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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