The Age of Grief
By Jane Smiley
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385721875, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 11, 2002
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The luminous novella and stories in The Age of Grief explore the vicissitudes of love, friendship, and marriage with all the compassion and insight that have come to be expected from Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize—winning author of A Thousand Acres.
In “The Pleasure of Her Company,” a lonely, single woman befriends the married couple next door, hoping to learn the secret of their happiness. In “Long Distance,” a man finds himself relieved of the obligation to continue an affair that is no longer compelling to him, only to be waylaid by the guilt he feels at his easy escape. And in the incandescently wise and moving title novella, a dentist, aware that his wife has fallen in love with someone else, must comfort her when she is spurned, while maintaining the secret of his own complicated sorrow. Beautifully written, with a wry intelligence and a lively comic touch, The Age of Grief captures moments of great intimacy with grace, clarity, and indelible emotional power.
Jane Smiley lives in Northern California.
“A glorious achievement. . . . Infinitely satisfying. . . . A triumph.” –The New York Times Book Review
“A fine collection, with a resonating and particularly rewarding novella.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Impressive . . . brilliant . . . engrossing. . . . This is a book that will last and last.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Thrilling to read. . . . The prose has about it the effortlessness only effort can produce.” –USA Today
“Thoroughly familiar moments are captured by Ms. Smiley with such immediacy and precision that we are left with a sense of having participated in her characters’ lives.” –The New York Times