New York Magazine is running a feature this week on the 'Greatest New York Ever'. Staff writer, Sam Anderson, tackles best novel. Sifton forgoes 'the city's proud tradition of mega-books' (Bonfire of the Vanities, Underworld, Winter's Tale) to nominate Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence as Manhattan's primo ode.
"It builds itself, obsessively, out of all the essential New York themes. The necessary (but often terrifying) seesawing between change and stasis. The constant drama of taste and class; the connoisseurship of gossip...The shiny lure of fanticiy versus the sharp hook of reality. The giant shell game of phoniness and authenticity. The existential strain of distinction vs. assimilation"