Sabiel's Reviews > A Fortunate Age

A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff
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's review
Jan 06, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: read-fiction
Read in January, 2010

So much squandered potential. The final paragraph of the Times review really nailed it:

Throughout, the constraints of matching her characters and plot points with McCar­thy’s keep Rakoff from writing the story that floats before her eyes. Possibly, she was inspired to borrow another author’s scaffolding because Zadie Smith succeeded so well with “On Beauty,” her re­imagination of Forster’s “Howard’s End,” reconfigured as a late-20th-century meditation on race and class — which receives a glancing mention toward the end of “A Fortunate Age.” But Rakoff’s novel isn’t so much a reimagination as a redecoration, reminiscent of design Web sites that let the user throw different decors onto a pre-existing layout. It’s a shame, because Rakoff’s piquant view of her evolving generation deserves a room of its own.

I'll definitely take a look at whatever she writes next, however, now that she's gotten the requisite semi-autobiographical novel out of her system.

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