Oh for the love of staying alive and awake some one please evoke some life into these affluent 19th century New Yorkers. The first 55 pages or so left me yawning and annoyed at the beating around the bush of people whispering in corners and no one saying the much needed things which needed saying, aloud [deep breath]. It was a story of annoying characters who went on and on about the way New York society carried on their charade of propriety. Until May Welland grew a backbone and had a few choice words with her cousin Ellen [although we do not hear that direct conversation], then some life inject itself into this story.
I have no love for the hypocrite Newland Archer, who played a dance with two women. One minute he begs one to shorten their engagement for a quicker wedding, next he bemoans that he made a mistake. Then he goes crazy for Ellen aka the Countess then he laments stay away, only to play that come hither game and sing another tune again. The sorry bastard annoyed me more when he had the chance to meet the Countess when all was said and done and he rather sit on a bench and reflect about his duty to uphold New York 19th century decency ya di da.
I must admit one of the things which kept me reading the story was the remembrance of a film adaptation I saw with Winona Ryder so many moons ago. I remember that the film was generally nice and argued with myself that meant the story will spring awake some time. It did not explode but it had its moments of shocking deflection from highborn 19th century New York way of life. I must also admit that the last section of the story about Newland’s family read fairly well.
Have you read The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton? What do you think about Newland Archer and May Welland?