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The Age of Grief (1987)

by Jane Smiley

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4901139,111 (3.79)13
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.… (more)
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» See also 13 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Me gustó más de lo que esperaba y me sorprendió.
Se lee fácilmente, pero no por eso es menos compleja y profunda.
La voz narrativa es tal vez su mejor atributo y lo que más disfruté: la de el personaje principal, un papá contemporáneo que decidió se un “padre involucrado” llamado Dave. Tiene 35 años. Es dentista, está casado, tienen muy buen nivel económico y 3 hermosas hijas.
Dave está convencido de que su esposa (Dana) está enamorada de otro hombre y decide evitar que ella sepa que él sabe porque considera que así salvará su matrimonio.
Se convierte en un una narración que retrata el matrimonio, la convivencia familiar y la crianza desde los ojos y acciones del hombre y con personajes muy bien definidos.
Como cereza del pastel, la portada es hermosa.

*
“Tengo la impresión de que el matrimonio es un pequeño contenedor en el que a penas caben unos pocos hijos. Dos visas interiores, dos seres reflexivos, de la complejidad que sea, qué brotan de él, una y otra vez, rompiéndolo...”
*
“Siempre he creído que un hombre que tiene una esposa y amante lo tiene todo, pero una mujer con un marido y un amante... no da abasto. ¿De dónde saca el tiempo para el amante?”
*
“Y ahora la gripe. (...) La gente sin hijos no puede imaginar siquiera hasta qué punto estas enfermedades te ponen a prueba.” ( )
  GabbadelaMoraP | Apr 8, 2021 |
Moving collection of stories, especially the title novella. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Mar 2, 2021 |
The first half of this slim volume is comprised of short stories. The second -- and I think, best -- half is a long short-story (or novella), "The Age of Grief." This short, powerful and tenderly rendered story about the precarious nature of marriage carries the book. Jane Smiley is a masterful writer of character and nuance. ( )
  dcmr | Jul 4, 2017 |
This would have been just a 3-star read for me if not for the eponymous novella that closes out the collection. It's the story of an ordinary man and his love for his family, including his wife whom he believes to be cheating on him. There is a section where the family deals with the flu that was just wonderful - funny and sad and heart-stirring.

The rest of the collection is composed of fairly slight short stories that were fine but didn't do much for me. Smiley's writing is excellent, of course, but the stories were not compelling to me.

Notes: Read for the American Author Challenge. ( )
  katiekrug | Mar 26, 2016 |
i really like the way jane smiley writes. i didn't connect with each of these stories individually, but i am impressed with the breadth of tone and voice in them, how different each is, even while all being about how people relate to each other and/or themselves. it's actually hard for me to even remember any of the short stories because the book ends with the 100 page novella that gives the collection its name, and i *loved* the voice in this piece so much. i didn't love the entire story (there's a middle part that i didn't much care for, although i understand why she did it) but can't say enough about how much i enjoyed the writing and voice in this last one (the age of grief).

she is a very, very good writer and i'll be glad to read her again.

oh, and as much as i enjoyed the novella, (i mean look at the writing below!) i wanted to read a separate novella about this guy, from the age of grief:

"Dentists on television never have people coming in like the man who came to me today. His teeth were hurting him over the weekend, and so he went out to his toolbox and found a pliers and began to pull them out, with only some whiskey to kill the pain. Pulling teeth takes a lot of strength and a certain finesse, one of which the man had and the other of which he lacked. What drove him into my office today, after fifteen years away from the dentist, was twenty-four broken teeth, some in fragments below the gum line, some merely smashed around the crown. Teeth are important. Eskimo cultures used to abandon their old folks in the snow when their teeth went, no matter how good their health was otherwise. People in our culture have a lot of privileges. One of them is having no teeth." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Jul 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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Dana était l'unique étudiante en classe préparatoire à l'école dentaire, qui ne comptait en tout que deux filles cette année-là
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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.

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