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Download The Age of Innocence Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (54,024 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edith Wharton Narrator: Lorna Raver Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2007 ISBN: 9781455190157
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Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for literature ever awarded to a woman, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s elegant portrait of desire and betrayal in old New York.

In the highest circle of New York social life during the 1870s, Newland Archer, a young lawyer, prepares to marry the docile May Welland. But before their engagement is announced, he meets the mysterious, nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska, May’s cousin, who has returned to New York after a long absence. Ellen mirrors his own sense of disillusionment with society and the
“good marriage” he is about to embark upon and provokes a moral struggle within him as he continues to go through the motions.

A social commentary of surprising compassion and insight, The Age of Innocence toes the line between the comedy of manners and the tragedy of thwarted love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska...Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature.”

    Gore Vidal

  • “Wharton’s characters leap out from the pages and...become very real. You know their hearts, souls, and yearnings and the price they pay for those yearnings.”

    San Francisco Examiner

  • “Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition?”

    E. M. Forster

  • “Eighty-five years after it won the Pulitzer Prize, Edith Wharton’s romantic novel remains as intriguing and captivating as ever. Unfortunately, its slow pace as it depicts turn-of-the-century New Yorkwill deter many of today’s readers. For this reason, this audio edition is a delight. By what seems to be some magic trick or secret ingredient, Lorna Raver manages to present distinctive and perfectly modulated voices for over a dozen characters. Some audio publishers might have been tempted to use multiple narrators. But Blackstone has enough faith in the words and pace of the novel itself to trust that this extremely perceptive single reader has all the tools she needs. Raver is not yet a household name in audiobooks, but she should be. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, NEA Big Read Selection.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristiana | 2/19/2014

    " "There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free; and he had long ago since discovered that May's only use of the liberty she supposed herself to possess would be to lay it down on the alter of her wifely adoration." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deanna | 2/17/2014

    " For me it was kinda like an American version of Anna Karenina but the characters responded differently to their sexual urges. It is like the alternate plot for what could have happened if Kitty married Vronsky but he stayed in love with Anna. I really enjoyed this book!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LibraryEms | 2/7/2014

    " Somehow during my English Literature degree I missed out on Edith Wharton, and having heard reports that she is a bit like Marmite - you either love her or you hate her - I picked up 'the Age of Innocence' to see where I fell on the Wharton spectrum. Published in 1920, the novel is set forty or so years earlier in an upper class New York, which is defined by such strict societal rules that entering your opera box during a solo is a cardinal offence, let alone inviting the wrong sort of people to a dinner party. The New Yorkers stick together in clans, in a regimented hierarchy of families - intermarrying in a small pool of people from the right class, playing at paid work before the real work of socialising begins, and (if you're a woman), pretending you don't know that something's wrong with your marriage whilst sorting it out on the sly. The story revolves round a young man - Newland Archer - who is the epitome of an eligible New York bachelor from a good family, and who is happily awaiting his marriage to equally ideal New York girl, May Welland. However, all is thrown into disarray by the arrival of scandalous cousin Ellen Olenska, who has run away from an unhappy marriage, possibly committed adultery and is generally foreign and liable to shock New York society by associating with artists and other riff raff. When I say thrown into disarray, I mean that there are a series of constrained and awkward meetings between Archer and Ellen, and a lot of mental to-ing and fro-ing on behalf of the young man who starts to doubt the wisdom of not only his marriage to May, but of New York society itself. It is all very subtle, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes that made me think about it for a while after I finished. The character of May is the most interesting - while we see the story unfold mainly from Archer's point of view, it is clear that there is more to May than meets the eye - initially presented as a shallow incarnation of the perfect wife (not her fault, Archer claims, women are raised that way in New York) - she both knows more, and does more than Archer gives her credit for. It leads to some interesting depictions of gender and gender relations. All in all, the novel was food for thought, and although it moved very slowly, this conveyed the claustrophobic atmosphere of upper class New York perfectly. One day I will read it again - it feels like a novel that would give more on a second reading - and in the mean time I have got 'The House of Mirth' out of the library to continue my Wharton exploration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Siobhan Burns | 2/5/2014

    " Complete mastery. I've read this book several times, and recently, feeling the need to read a perfect novel, I picked it up again. Everything about it is perfect: the characters, the intricacy of the plot, the style, the insights. This time, I was so distraught at the ending, just devastated -- perhaps the older you get, the more Wharton destroys you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sairah | 2/4/2014

    " Lots of great quotes in this one! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank Spencer | 2/3/2014

    " Henry James Jr.s' friend, and author up to her eyebrows in family psychological problems, this author spins a good tale. I wish I'd been told when younger that there is no fiction, just personal narrative for which the people involved are not identified. The descriptions of places and people's emotions which you find in this book are skilled. There are a lot of memorable quotes, like, "The worst of doing one's duty was that it apparently unfitted one for doing anything else." If you have the time and inclination, you won't be wasting the time reading this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay | 2/3/2014

    " I enjoyed the look at life and values. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 1/20/2014

    " I really enjoyed this one. Not a fast read, but interesting. It's a must-read just because it's become a part of the canon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Mccallion addesso | 1/2/2014

    " I'm sure I would have liked this book even more with a book club. It is an age old story in a specific setting, however I do believe that May was the smartest of them all! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy Kendall | 12/2/2013

    " Ahh...unrequited love. Sad look at marriage and longing in the Victorian days. Did Archer do the right thing by staying and living his "real" life, or would his life have been more passionately lived otherwise? The romantic in me chooses the latter. Hated the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 10/26/2013

    " Man, did that pick up at the end. It jumped up 2 stars in the last 20 or 30 pages. Was it just me or did anyone else think (at the Archer's dinner) of the ending of The Godfather? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chelsea Pope | 10/12/2013

    " Possibly my favorite book to read this last quarter, insane detail. Newland's a bit of a pansy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 6/10/2013

    " New York society in the late 1800's.... Downton Abbey lifestyle without the titles. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Blair | 4/6/2013

    " Loved it! I love the mix of old-fashioned paired with sentiments that still ring so true in today's world. Who hasn't felt hemmed in by their choices or other people's expectations of you? A delightful read and a perfect example of why some books are "classics." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aneece | 3/19/2013

    " Bonus points for identifying the character based on Teddy Roosevelt, with whom Wharton was acquainted. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Insoo | 1/16/2013

    " Well, this is one classic I could have done without...prolonged torture from beginning to end, much like the rigid and monotonous conventions of the society Wharton depicts in this novel...1 star for how much I actually liked it/enjoyed it, but 3 stars for exceptional writing and language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 11/23/2012

    " A startlingly, devastatingly good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen Barwinski | 4/21/2012

    " I didn't like this nearly as much as "The House of Mirth," but it was good. A bit slow getting started, but I really liked it by the end. I'm just going to say it, I couldn't stand May, even though I should feel sorry for her. She was manipulative and just vapid. But anyway, good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwendolyn | 1/11/2012

    " Less dramatic than House of Mirth but possibly more powerful. I enjoyed this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Antonia | 1/8/2012

    " I really enjoyed this one. I would hate to live in a society where so much is unspoken but it was an entertaining read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laurie Lemson | 10/14/2011

    " Hard to leave this book. I will always wonder why Newland walked away from Ellen at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Willow4 | 5/18/2011

    " I have read this book before and enjoyed it very much "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patricia | 5/15/2011

    " Just one of my all time favorite books. The social pressures and the outcomes that result are timeless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pylgrym | 5/15/2011

    " Equal parts love and pain. Exquisite. The best of the best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 5/13/2011

    " My grand daughter read this book in her high school class last year. I realized that I had never read it. As I read it and thoroughly enjoyed it, I wondered at girls of today trying to understand the constraints of society way back when. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alicia | 5/12/2011

    " Well-written story, but not my favorite story line. I don't usually enjoy stories all about social status and married people who long to be with someone who is not their spouse (well, with the one exception of Gone with the Wind!). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dawnia | 5/12/2011

    " I didn't care for the twisted love story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amie | 5/11/2011

    " This book is an old favorite. I reread it every so often, and never get bored of it. I love Edith Wharton's subtle, skillful way of telling a story, and pulling the reader into its world. I love that I am still in suspense, even knowing exactly how it will end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 5/7/2011

    " Great look at NY society and manners at the start of the 20th century. The relationship between Newland Archer and Countess Ellen Olenska is a bit frustrating. All propriety is maintained in the end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 DiDi | 5/6/2011

    " This made a great discussion for bookclub. I admit that the first half was slow reading for me, but the second half picked up and I was anxious to see how events played out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Atw74 | 5/5/2011

    " One of my absolutely favorite books. Just perfect. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 5/3/2011

    " I'm glad I took the time to read The Age of Innocence. I did not expect the ending (which is good!). If you're going to pick up a Wharton novel, I'd start with Ethan Frome or The Bunner Sisters before reading The Age of Innocence. "

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