Tag Archives: Pulitzer Prize

Innocence’s lost

This is another Pulitzer Prize winner, and it’s ironic I’ve read two such winners in a year with not a fiction winner. Sad, really sad.

Edith Wharton‘s The Age of Innocence is another masterpiece. It tells the loss of innocence of Newland Archer, a high society boy who lives a perfect life in a perfect bubble until he met his fiancée’s cousin Countess Olenska, an expatriate who takes New York’s society by storm. Suddenly his contact with new ways of thinking burst his bubble and he realized the superficiality of his life up to that moment.

Through Wharton’s narrative we witness how Archer’s world falls down but how he’s unable to stop the process, and live up to his true feeling. Quite sad actually. Therefore the ending is extremely well accomplished because it leaves you with the sour aftertaste of a life spent knowing there was another way of living it.

All I want is to be able to write half as well a Wharton.

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Who’s the riffraff?

Broadway at night wih lighted billboards featuring George Amberson Minafer

George Minafer's different incarnations (1925, 1944, 2002) in the spotlight where he thinks he belongs.

I’ve just finished Booth Tarkington‘s The Magnificent Ambersons. This is one of the best novels ever written, and George Amberson Minafer is one of the best characters ever created. He is a selfish conceited megalomaniac who’s too sexy even for himself, let alone his cat, and he’s not even a model. Here is the guy who pretty much destroys everyone else’s life simply because he’s always right. He endangers his love interest life, effectively kills his mother, and is incapable to look forward just for the hate of one guy. He’s the best example of an anti-hero.

One of the novel’s themes is everybody’s wishful thinking that he’s gonna get it someday. By the end it happens or so it seems. I’m not so sure that he actually get it, and when he’s at his lowest he’s presumably rescued by the almost killed love interest (a girl so silly that never even realized how self-absorbed he is, and actually feeds his narcissism), and by the so hated guy -the reason why he got stuck in the past, and killed his mother.  The worst part of the novel’s ending is that he’ll marry money and no doubt will go back to his self-centered ways.

That character alone deserved the Pulitzer prize awarded to the novel -back in the day when literary prizes meant something-, but the dialog is just another great accomplishment. I only wish I’ll be able to write a masterpiece like The Magnificent Ambersons.

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