The Innocents by Francesca Segal

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She is definitely a new force in English fiction but a word-to-the wise, a lexicon of Yiddishisms will come in handy. Also, don’t be surprised if you become occasionally peckish reading this novel because food plays as sensual a role as the very occasional illicit sex. This is, after all, a Jewish book.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

*** Winner of the 2012 Costa First Novel Award ***

*** Winner of the 2013 Harold U. Ribalow Prize, the 2013 Sam Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, the 2012 Costa First Novel Award, and the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction ***

A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.

Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. To Adam, Rachel embodies the highest values of Temple Fortune; she is innocent, conventional, and entirely secure in her community--a place in which everyone still knows the whereabouts of their nursery school classmates. Marrying Rachel will cement Adam's role in a warm, inclusive family he loves.

But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when Rachel's younger cousin Ellie Schneider moves home from New York, she unsettles Adam more than he'd care to admit. Ellie--beautiful, vulnerable, and fiercely independent--offers a liberation that he hadn't known existed: a freedom from the loving interference and frustrating parochialism of North West London. Adam finds himself questioning everything, suddenly torn between security and exhilaration, tradition and independence. What might he be missing by staying close to home?
 

About Francesca Segal

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Francesca Segal was born in London in 1980. The daughter of a writer and an editor, she studied at Oxford and Harvard University before becoming a journalist and critic. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, The Daily Telegraph, FT Magazine, and The JC, amongst others. For three years she wrote the Debut Fiction Column in The Observer and has been a features writer at Tatler. She divides her time between London and New York.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Hachette Books. 289 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Innocents
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by VIv Groskop on Feb 24 2013

Part ambiguous morality tale, part guidebook on north London Jewish community culture, this is a hugely enjoyable first novel.

Read Full Review of The Innocents | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by LUCY SCHOLES on May 05 2012

The Innocents is a compelling read and Segal writes with a delicate, understated elegance.

Read Full Review of The Innocents | See more reviews from Guardian

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Robert Collison on May 28 2014

She is definitely a new force in English fiction but a word-to-the wise, a lexicon of Yiddishisms will come in handy. Also, don’t be surprised if you become occasionally peckish reading this novel because food plays as sensual a role as the very occasional illicit sex. This is, after all, a Jewish book.

Read Full Review of The Innocents | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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