Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.As I’m writing this it’s 4:53am on a Thursday morning. The alarm had been set for six. Insomnia is a cruel mistress.
Outside a new dawn is slowly beginning to emerge. It looks for the moment kike it will be a grey one and it’s certainly wet. The weather forecast indeed suggests that the rain will be much, much worse as this day continues. Of course as is always the way I have a few journeys to make today.
Normally with insomnia I would have probably spent the time the time nowadays wandering the web. An internet hobo from site to site. This morning however was different. For I had according to my Kindle less than half an hour of Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton to go. So decided to finish that.
Now this book had been split into two sections, literally Book one and Book Two. This seemed somehow appropriate. For if any novel could be described as a book of two halves in my opinion of it this is it. So let’s chat about Book One first.
Book One was, for the most part, a dull trudge. I was wondering when I read this exactly why it’s the classic that it is. The characters for the most part are as limp as the wettest of lettuce (and that includes the leading male in this story). And as for the denouement well it was so obvious it might as well have been covered in neon and sponsored by the city of Las Vegas.
What saves Book One, just, are two central characters. Firstly Madame Olenska, the central woman here. Beautiful, different, mysterious and for Nineteenth Century New York Society a woman with issues.
The other central character is Nineteenth Century New York Society itself. Outwardly polite it nonetheless is a very powerful force seeking to control the emotions of those it rules no matter how much certain people try to resist.
And so I approach Book Two in a depressed frame of mind. The sort of mind a reader has when he/she is halfway through a book, feels as a sense of duty as a book lover to finish it but knowing full well that their mind will be turned to mush at the end.
Well….was wrong about that.
Book Two is everything Book One isn’t. Characters become fully rounded (though the two main ones from Book One are as strong as ever), the plot moves in a way that you did not expect and the ending was as subtle as it was strong. It was brilliant. You have to read Book One I’m afraid to get to Book Two. But trust me it’s worth it.
No question the most surprising book I’ve read so far this year.
Until the next time.