A Fortunate Age

By Joanna Smith Rakoff
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781416590774, 416pp.)

Publication Date: April 7, 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the April 2009 Indie Next List
“Joanna Smith Rakoff's first novel chronicles the sometimes ludicrous, maddeningly funny, and, often, moving adventures of a gifted group of twenty-something friends in New York City just after college graduation. Combining cockeyed details of development that ring true with empathy and insight, Rakoff tells the story of marriages, children, and the success (or failure) of these characters' art with a light and witty touch. A portrait of a generation, A Fortunate Age is a delight”
-- Jill Owens, Powell's Books, Inc, Portland


Description

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 twenty-first 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; 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.




About the Author

Joanna Smith Rakoff has written for The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, and other publications. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College; an M.A. from University College, London; and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She lives in New York with her husband and son.

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