A Fortunate Age seemed like an unfortunate title, but the heralding of an ‘astute’ debut and the setting of New York in the days leading up to 9/11, spoke of infinite promise. From the start I could relate to the six friends and that time after college when aspirations are shouted to the world, without fear and friends from college are friends forever.
And so it was for the first third of the book. The ability to carry and develop 6 main characters in a meaningful and true to form way is no mean feat and was carried out with aplomb. The usual hiccoughs and failures of life however, crept in sooner than I thought they would and I must admit that the feel good component suddenly fell flat around half way through. Yes it is a conceivable plot line, not everything goes to plan for everyone in early adulthood, but faced with the impending doom of the 9/11 incident, I was disappointed that not one of the friends came out unscathed.
Maybe it is my age or maybe it is the times that we live in, but the title suggested some kind of struggle that was overcome through strength and grace. I read the book in hope of a happier tale to balance out the inevitable tragedy of 9/11, but instead, I found little in the way of climax and at the end, was left with six stories of doubt and failure fizzling out into a feeling of loss.
Yes, the writing is excellent, the characters all too human and the storyline cleverly woven with nuances of New York life, but the overwhelming emotion I was left with at the conclusion of the book was loss. Perhaps that was the Author’s intention. Personally I felt a little cheated. We hear enough about failed marriages, lost dreams and death on a daily basis. Does it have to show up in so many modern novels?