The Age of Grief

Jane Smiley

05 October 2017
224 pages


In this brilliant collection of five short stories and a novella, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley presents six unforgettable portraits exploring the perils of domestic life.

I am thirty-five years old, and it seems to me that I have reached the age of grief. Others arrive there sooner. Almost no one arrives much later . . .

In the title novella, a man who has reached the 'age of grief' slowly realizes that his wife is in love with someone else. Unsure whether his marriage is best protected by confronting her or by feigning ignorance, he struggles to repress his anguish and to prevent his wife discovering that he is aware of her infidelity . . .

Accompanying this novella are five short stories, including The Pleasure of Her Company, in which a lonely, single woman befriends the married couple next door, hoping to learn the secret to their happiness. And Long Distance, in which 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.

Faultlessly written, each nuance brilliantly captured
A triumph
The Age of Grief has substance and wit . . . It draws the reader compulsively