I’m a big fan of Edith Wharton, too, along with Jane Austen, as well as a number of other writers. I often listen at LibriVox while I knit, it’s like reading and knitting at the same time. Brenda Dayne reads Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence beautifully… all of the subtleties of Wharton’s novel come through. Dayne has a lovely voice and she interprets Wharton’s novel beautifully. The files are all mp3s, so there is no streaming involved. In fact, you could load these chapters onto your iPod. Also, it’s worth mentioning that everything at librivox.org is in the public domain.

For those not familiar with The Age of Innocence, it is highly topical today. Wharton wrote quite a lot about about the Gilded Age, and it’s amazing to me that Wharton could write about her own class and still be accepted by it.  Perhaps it’s because the things she wrote were so true… and no one wished to dispute her on the content. One difference between then and now is that during the Gilded Age, people who committed fraud with other people’s money were ostracized. We will never see that happen now… too bad. Nor will we see any of the financial elites who caused our economy to crash end up in prison. It. Just. won’t. happen. There are a number of story lines woven together in this novel. One involves May’s fiancé and a woman he admires, perhaps a bit too much.

Wharton also wrote about architecture and decorating and gardening. And she wrote an instruction book for soldiers in France while she was living there. Wharton spent a good deal of time living as an ex-pat.

In any case, please have a listen here… and let us know what you think about this reading. Wharton really knew how to tell a story and rarely began a novel until she knew exactly how it would turn out. Then, she was essentially picking ripe fruit from a tree. Another favorite of mine is Wharton’s The Buccaneers, filmed as a mini-series so it is also available on NetFlix. It has a wonderful cast, beautiful costumes and scenery and, of course, a compelling story. It was the last novel she wrote before she died. It wasn’t quite finished, but she had made enough notes on how it would end for it to be finished and filmed, too.

In general, I prefer a single reader for a LibriVox novel, because otherwise there is no continuity in the characters’ voices. Karen Savage is another reader I like LibriVox. She is really good at modulating her voice for different characters of different backgrounds and ages.  Look for her there.