Guide The Innocents: A Novel

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  3. Book Review: The Innocents by Michael Crummey – Karissa Reads Books

Segal has somewhat brilliantly reconceptualized The Age of Innocence among contemporary wealthy London Jews. The Innocents succeeds to an extent that will make you kvell — but in doing so, a very different end results, one that provides a tender take on family, loss, and growing into adulthood. Segal deftly shifts this moment from the concert hall to the synagogue gallery, during the holiest, most somber night of the year, Kol Nidre.

The certainty has ended for Adam; for the reader, the pleasure of a good story is beginning. We can see from the scrutiny given to Ellie, the notorious interloper with the rather pedestrian name, that this set of London Jews are cloistered in their own way: doctrinaire on matters of propriety more than piety, well-off but not as fully worldly as they could be.

It will ring especially true for readers like myself, a lifelong Upper West Side Jew. She recasts the smug, sheltered May Welland and her prominent clan as the smug, sheltered Rachel Gilbert and family: the intrusive, loving, and ultimately steely Gilberts. Logically Adam would indeed be tempted to reject such comforting but boxed-in parameters, and yes, he would find kinship with Ellie, who like him has lost a parent.

They are both half-orphans, and her history of dating dubious men and semi-pornographic modeling and acting, rendering her the opposite of a nice Jewish girl, certainly gives her the requisite transgressive attraction.


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He handed the bowl of nearly black liquid to the boy beside him. Many modern readers require high stimulation from the get-go.

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They have no time for the patient ramping up of expectation. They demand immediate return on investment for the simple act of cracking a spine. Look Inside.


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Nov 12, Minutes Buy. Nov 12, ISBN Nov 12, Minutes. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Muddling though the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them.

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But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested. The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.

Michael Crummey writes like an avenging angel, never putting a word wrong. Set against the unforgiving Newfoundland frontier, this harrowing tale of two siblings eking out a teetering existence is difficult to witness and impossible to put to down. A wonderfully provocative and insightful book.

Book Review: The Innocents by Michael Crummey – Karissa Reads Books

I am reminded of Dickens, not just the nineteenth-century setting and the imperiled children, but the artfulness: brilliant plot, unforgettable minor characters, perfect pacing. The Innocents reminds us of all the reasons we read—to understand, to imagine, to find compassion and to witness the making of art. This story of how two guileless youngsters navigate life will have a deep emotional impact on its readers. Hardcover —. Add to Cart. Listen to a sample from The Innocents.

Also by Michael Crummey.


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See all books by Michael Crummey. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. The Stories of Alice Adams. Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen. Dexter Palmer.

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