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The Innocents Hardcover – June 5, 2012
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"An emotionally and intellectually astute debut."―Kirkus
"A crafty homage. . . . [Segal] writes with engaging warmth."―Entertainment Weekly, Grade: B+
"Readers who enjoy fast-paced, gently satirical literary novels, fans of Allegra Goodman, and book group participants will find a Shabbat dinner's worth of noshing in this accomplished debut novel."―Library Journal
"The Innocents is written with wisdom and deliciously subtle wit, in the tradition of Jane Austen and Nancy Mitford. Francesca Segal has a remarkable ability to bring characters vividly to life who are at once warm, funny, complex, and utterly recognizable. This is a wonderfully readable novel: elegant, accomplished and romantic."―Andre Aciman, author of the award-winning Out of Egypt, Call Me by Your Name, and most recently Alibis
"A moving, funny, richly drawn story of a young man's attempts to find out who he wants to be when there are so many others who know best. Full of real pleasures and unexpected wisdom this book sweeps you along."―Esther Freud, author of Love Falls and, most recently, Lucky Break
"Inspired by The Age of Innocence, Segal's book is warmer, funnier, and paints a more dynamic and human portrait of a functional community that is a wonderful juxtaposition to Wharton's cold social strata."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"[A] delightful first novel . . . Segal's writing is wise, witty and observant."―The London Times
"The Innocents is compelling and Segal writes with an understated elegance."―The Observer (UK)
"With understated wit, empathy and a cinematic eye of detail, Segal brings alive a host of characters so robust that you can easily imagine them onscreen... A winning debut novel."―People
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The characters are the familiar Newland Archer reborn as Adam Newman and May Welland becomes Rachel Gilbert. The third leg of the triangle Ellie Schneider is like Countess Ellen Olenska in that she's a creature of two lands belonging to neither (in this case, British-born but American-raised) and drenched in scandal. However, where the novel departs significantly from "Age of Innocence" is that Ellie truly is scandalous. Where Ellen Olenska sought to extricate herself from the socially acceptable but unbearable marriage in name only, an exchange for wealth and status, instead Ellie is besmirched by a past including making a porn film. She seems to take great care in flaunting herself as a modern "fallen woman" where it's not sex outside of marriage, but a lifestyle and inappropriate dress that make for clucking tongues.
The rest of the cast show up recognizably--Mrs Manson Mingott becomes Ellie's grandmother, Ziva, equally brave, somewhat unconventional and willful. Even the van der Luydens show up early, pillars of the community, fabulously wealthy and just as reclusive and exclusive.Read more ›
Twenty-eight-year-olds Adam Newman (cf. Newland Archer in AOI) and Rachel Gilbert (May Welland) have been together for a dozen years, engaged to be married, and comfortable and secure in their tight knot of overlapping and extended family and friends. Rachel has never been with any other man but Adam, and Adam's experience is limited (by today's standards). He is smug in his knowledge of Adam and Rachel, Rachel and Adam. Although his father died when he was very young, leaving an unresolved grief in his heart, Rachel's father, Lawrence, has embraced him like a son, even hired him to work as an attorney in his firm. They are as close as in-laws could be. The marriage in a year will seal the deal, and bring the families even closer.
"There was no life event--marriage, birth, parenthood, or loss--through which one need ever walk alone. Twenty-five people were always poised to help. The other side of interference was support."
In walks the prodigal cousin, returned from New York, Ellie Schneider (Ellen Olenska in AOI), a twenty-two-year old statuesque, bottle-blonde beauty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read somewhat childishly. I have never read the original and cannot say that I am motivated to do so after reading this adaptation. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Allyson
If you have read, loved or seen Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence, then this will probably do. If not, and a look at choice and how environment and social mores affect choice - then... Read morePublished 12 months ago by tsktsk
I read the back of the book and it sounded like a good light read. I was into the second chapter when I realized it's just a knock off of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Read morePublished 12 months ago by M
This is a modern update of Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence". Instead of white waspy families in America this book centers around British Jewish families. Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. Voigt
Enjoyable! But don't expect it to match the quality of the Edith Wharton classic. Taken independently, if not mindful that you're reading an update of a Pulitzer Prize winner,... Read morePublished 17 months ago by KDH