After reading “The Age of Innocence” I have to acknowledge this book is not my cup of tea.
Maybe my impression is influenced by the elaborate descriptions on American society, who become dull at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love her descriptions but at times they are too long, and delay the story-line.
Then, there are too many names introduced in such short interval that the beginning of the book is hard to follow. All kinds of family relations, and their places in society, are thrown around so freely that in the end you just don’t know who is who.
The main reason, I didn’t like the book is the main character, who is absolutely despicable. His views on society often contradict each other, he is a hypocrite and from the start you see his unfaithful intentions looming, from his misguided ideas of reality. But hey, probably this was Warton’s intention. Probably she, who had been living abroad for so many years, wanted to demonstrate everything wrong with the society of her era. A society that repressed her and her ambition to become a writer.
All in all, we get a quite gloomy view of America with some dubious and hypocrite characters but taking in account that this was most certainly Warton’s goal, the message certainly arrived.
For instance, the irony that just droops of these quotes, it is unbelievable and full of negativity;
“Americans want to get away from amusement even more quickly than they want to get it – The Age of Innocence, p3″
“It seems stupid to discover America only to make it into a copy of another country – The Age of Innocence, p151 ”
However, when someone else than mr Archer even utters a slightly negative word about New York he suddenly becomes protective about his home city.
“The analogy was well-meant, but did not altogether please him. He did not mind being flippant about New York, but disliked to hear anyone else take the same tone – The Age of Innocence, p 48”
Therefore, although the book is well written and the characters are depicted with great success, the story-line lacks suspense and at times the descriptions of the decor are a bit too long.