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Publisher's Summary

Like The Group, Mary McCarthy's classic tale about coming of age in New York, Joanna Smith Rakoff's richly drawn and immensely satisfying first novel details the lives of a group of Oberlin graduates whose ambitions and friendships threaten to unravel as they chase their dreams, shed their youth, and build their lives in Brooklyn during the late 1990s and the turn of the 21st century.

There's Lil, a would-be scholar whose marriage to an egotistical writer initially brings the group back together (and ultimately drives it apart); Beth, who struggles to let go of her old beau, Dave, a onetime piano prodigy trapped by his own insecurity; and Emily, an actor perpetually on the verge of success - and starvation - who grapples with her jealousy of Tal, whose acting career has taken off. At the center of their orbit is wry, charismatic Sadie Peregrine, who coolly observes her friends' mistakes but can't quite manage to avoid making her own. As they begin their careers, marry, and have children, they must navigate the shifting dynamics of their friendships and of the world around them.

Set against the backdrop of the vast economic and political changes of the era - from the decadent age of dot-com millionaires to the sobering post-September 2001 landscape - Smith Rakoff's deeply affecting characters and incisive social commentary are reminiscent of the great Victorian novels. This brilliant and ambitious debut captures a generation and heralds the arrival of a bold and important new writer.

©2009 Joanna Rakoff (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Taylor-mitchell
  • 08-09-2015

mixed up confused rubbish

What disappointed you about A Fortunate Age?

flitted from one character to the other with no apparent story

What could Joanna Rakoff have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

re written it

Any additional comments?

one of the worst books I've ever listened to. Really struggled to keep up with the story if that's what it was!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • elizsheba
  • 07-09-2015

Dull long story not without a certain charm thiugh

What disappointed you about A Fortunate Age?

I liked J Rakoffs interview, so I thought the book must be interesting too. But that was a mistake.The book is too long, dull , the story is flabby, repeating itself and many characters are made of carton, unrealistic and not alive.There is no moving in the story, there is no motor to events, everything just flows by.
It s difficult to understand what us the point that author want to state .
However, there are still a few cosy nice places in the novel that I liked. Some characters are good and recognisable. But they do not change the whole feeling of flabbiness of the story, it s too diluted by " water".

Would you ever listen to anything by Joanna Rakoff again?

I don t think so, but I never give up hope

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was fine