A Fortunate Age:
by Joanna Smith Rakoff
$26.00 List Price
The jacket copy for Joanna Smith Rakoff’s A Fortunate Age compares the book to Mary McCarthy’s The Group; in the acknowledgments, the author calls it “an homage” to that 1963 novel. Neither reference prepares the reader for what follows: a scene-by-scene replay of McCarthy’s work. Rakoff recapitulates The Group’s plot and characters with painstaking, near-compulsive devotion.
McCarthy tracks the fortunes of eight women after they graduate from Vassar in ’33. All are from well-heeled families, and the novel offers a sociological study of urban life among the affluent classes at the height of the Depression, doing so with powerful feminist undertones. A typically caustic insight has a new mother, left alone with her newborn in the hospital, checking her watch again and again for the time when the nurse will come
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