Just a couple of days ago I mentioned that I’ve been reading The Innocents, the debut novel by Francesca Segal. As I noted, Segal’s book updates Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and transplants it to a tight-knit Jewish community in contemporary London.
I picked up a complimentary pre-publication copy (and had it signed by the author) at last month’s Book Expo America here in New York City. I also had the good fortune to catch one of Segal’s tweets about a reading she was giving at a bookstore in my neighborhood that same week, so I had the chance to hear the book’s opening section read aloud with a suitably British accent.
But it took a few weeks until I managed to start reading the book myself. Once I began, it was tough to put the book down. I’m not at all certain that all other readers will be as captivated by both elements of the book–the adaptation of the Wharton tale and the depiction of a Jewish community and its customs–as I was. But they sure captivated me.
I’ll leave you with a sampling of brief excerpts–passages that I found so resonant that they inspired me to dog-ear their respective pages and return to think consider them more intensively. (more…)