In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.
Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.
This was an interesting book. I’m not sure why I picked it up — I’m not really a fan of Jane Austen. I’ve been trying to discover new authors, though, so I grabbed it.
It’s an interesting story, but the word that I think best describes it is discombobulated. It wasn’t always clear who the narrator was (the narrator often spoke in plural). I thought it might be a book where each chapter was about a different character, but that didn’t really happen either. You just never knew who would be described in which sections and there was no real rhyme or reason as to who was being discussed.
It was also a bit disturbing to have a sexual assault so early in the book — I wasn’t expecting anything like that to be described in a book like this, and it was really the only graphic thing about it, so it felt a bit out of place. I thought maybe the rest of the book would explore the ramifications of that assault or the healing of it, but it was just sort of forgotten.
Overall, it was an interesting book, but it felt off balanced in which characters were emphasized and how some of their stories were never really resolved (we’re told what happens with Allegra and Prudie, but we never really get to see what motivates them to make their final decisions). A good book, but definitely an unusual read.
R-rated for thematic elements and swearing. Get your copy here!