Rabbi Andrea's Reviews > The Innocents

The Innocents by Francesca Segal
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 26, 2012

liked it

Edith Warthon Age of Innocence located in North London Jewish community. It takes certainly hutzpah to turn the work of an Anti-semite writer into a Jewish novel. Segal managed to do it, and the result is a good read. But the pattern is probably too evident.
The literary play is sophisticated and definitively enjoyable. My favourite: in this British Jewish family, there is an Israeli elderly lady, so much "in-your-face" kind of person, and definitively not-British (English is not her native tongue) filling the same family role of the matriarch Mrs Maggot in Wharton book, which in the Scorsese movie is played by Miriam Margolies, which is British and Jewish.
If you have read Wharton, or seen the movie, you definitively enjoy this sort of tricks. But in the same time you regret to miss the suspense, because you definitively already know where the narrator wants to bring you. Sometimes I even had the feeling that the narrator was skipping part of the story (why and how Adam fall in love with Ellie?) and overtly taking pleasure to hint.
Because the plot is deliberately weak, one can enjoy the description of the NW 11 Jewish society. And here the main problem with this book. You don't know whether it is a description of the Jewish community aimed to non -Jewish readers (do we really need such a long account of the reason d'etre of some Jewish festivities?). Or a narration of dramas and tensions peculiar of the Jewish life in the UK. If you are looking for a good story, whose location is a Jewish setting, this is a book that I highly recommend. But if you are like me, and enjoy the verve of the Howard Jacobson and his cruel portraits of the Mancunian Jewry, you probably miss something. And find yourself watching a movie of Martin Scorsese with this book open in front of you.
5 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Innocents.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.