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Summary

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.

©1987 Jane Smiley (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The Age of Grief

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  • Gatster
  • 24-04-17

Maybe, the "best" novella I've ever read

I've read hard copy of The Age of Grief at least three times. I wanted to revisit the novella and chose to listen to it, as an Audible book, this time. "Best" is a subjective term. Designating something as best is as much a matter of taste as it is an analysis of the craft of any given story. Still, with that in mind, I have to say that The Age of Grief is the best novella I have ever read.

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  • kmilesmcleod
  • 24-08-21

Entertaining selections of short stories

I enjoyed listening to The Age of Grief and appreciated Smiley’s nuanced portrayal of every day moments as often filled with an underlying element of grief. The stories weren’t grief-filled tragedies but rather an acknowledged of how life continually goes through cycles of loss and rebirth.

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  • Ela B.
  • 03-05-21

Smart. Gripping. Wise. Devastating

if you haven't read Jane Smiley before, then don't hesitate. if you have, well, then you won't be hesitating either. For me, shades of Annie Proulx, Claire Messud, even Joan Didion...but Smiley is very much her own writer and you will be better for reading/listening to her stories.

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  • Shelly Dee
  • 18-12-14

NOT SO MUCH

Would you try another book from Jane Smiley and/or the narrators?

I read Smiley's MOO and loved it, which is why I thought I'd enjoy Smiley again. GRIEF was a disappointment to me, though it had moments of brilliance.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Dialogue, inner thoughts. Endings.

Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

So-so.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Age of Grief?

Way too much repetition of dentists' kids bratty antics and stomach flu -- way, way, way too much information as they say.