The Age of Innocence (unabridged)

Audio Sample

Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence

Read by Laurel Lefkow


‘The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!’ Awarded the 1921 Pulitzer Prize (the first to be presented to a woman), Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence is a powerful depiction of love and desire in New York’s glamorous Gilded Age. When Newland Archer, happily engaged to May Welland, meets his  fiancée’s cousin Ellen, his entire future is cast into doubt: strong-willed, witty, and entirely unpretentious, Ellen is unlike any woman he has ever met. He is torn between his infatuation for her and his duty to marry May. In subtle and elegant language, Wharton delivers a critical look at the social mores of the time.

  • Running Time: 11 h 08 m

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    Digital ISBN:978-1-84379-979-5
    Cat. no.:NA0234
    Download size:167 MB
    Produced by:Hilary Field, Genevieve Helsby
    Edited by:Daniel Murguialday
    Released:September 2016
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Edith Wharton was looking back to her own innocence when in 1920, in her late fifties, she wrote The Age of Innocence, a story of the cracks that were beginning to appear in old-fashioned fin de siècle New York society. Newland Archer is about to be married when his fiancée’s cousin returns to New York, in search of a divorce from her abusive Polish husband, and his complacent, sedate world rocks on its pedestal. In the best Brief Encounter tradition, the lovers fight their feelings, little realising that their passion is well-understood by their nearest and dearest. It won the Pulitzer prize for fiction, the first awarded to a woman author, and it still has a haunting ‘road not taken’ quality that leaves the listener musing on might-have-beens. Laurel Lefkow, who can sound marvellously raunchy reading such titles as The Devil Wears Prada, adopts a precise well-behaved diction perfectly matched to the novel.

Christina Hardyment, The Times

Narrator Lauren Lefkow brings a calm and dignified tone to Edith Wharton’s high-society classic. It’s a novel full of wry comic observations on the social restraints that bind the upper echelon of New York City society, especially its female members. Lefkow contributes a fitting sense of intelligent restraint without sacrificing the warmth and versatility necessary to keep the listener engaged and entertained. Wharton’s strongest asset is her sparkling wit, which proves consistently ironic and fatalistic, and Lefkow seldom misses a beat, ensuring that a character’s twinkling eye or raised eyebrow is available to the attentive listener. Though her character range is understated, a shortcoming noticeable only in scenes with multiple characters, Lefkow’s sensitivity to character gives a constant lift to an insightful classic.

Z.S., AudioFile

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