Maya Rock's Reviews > The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
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's review
Mar 22, 2009

it was amazing
Read in March, 2009

I just finished. The writing is amazing and I loved the unreliable narratorness of Newland. I really felt no envy for his privilege. I really liked the depiction of May, a nice but dull person, and Wharton's explanations of why women ended up Mays were not heavy handed.
I felt like Madame Olenska was a bit of a blind spot. I couldn't see what was so attractive about her. She didn't seem to have any interests. The most fascinating thing about her was her husband.
This was also really quotable.
I liked the discussion of innocence.

There were a few quotes I liked.
1) this struck me because of how often the adjective nice when used in conversation comes across as derogatory, regardless of the user's intentions:

"What if 'niceness' carried to that supreme degree were only a negation, the curtain dropped before an emptiness? As he looked at May, returning flushed and calm from her final bull's-eye, he had the feeling that he had never yet lifted that curtain."

2) this was just kind of funny, about how he doesn't read poetry aloud to her anymore because of the comments she makes "In the days of their engagement, she had simply (as he now perceived) echoed what he told her; but since had ceased to provide her with opinions she had begun to hazard her own, with results destructive to his enjoyment of the works commented on."

Anyway there were more. Of course ultimately what was sad was how Newland couldn't perceive he was the main obstacle in his way. Or maybe he could. His frustrations about being locked in the ill-chosen marriage were intense. Newton came across as a bit of a kept woman himself.
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