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review 2017-12-25 01:30
Second read through.
Persuasion - Jane Austen,Gillian Beer

Probably top-two for Austen novels. I love the slightly older and more care-worn main couple, and all the pining (so much pining). I like how reserved and miserable Anne is at the start and how much she goes as the story continues. Wentworth is a bit more of a puzzle, as he seems to be a dashing young officer, but we don't get much of that until the very end. I did like all the navy stuff, and the Crofts are some of my favourite background characters.

 

I felt the last third was a little weaker, since no one is ever going to care about Mr. Elliot, and he wasn't a convincing red herring OR plot device (other than to make Wentworth jealous), and we get more of the horrible family and less of the fun cousins and sailors.

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review 2017-12-22 05:35
Over the top classic romance rendition
Sense and Sensibility - Manga - Jane Austen

Disclaimer: based on a NetGalley digital edition

 

Sense & Sensibility is possibly my favourite Austen novel, but this version just didn't do it for me. I found the old-school shoujo art a little too over the top. It's flowery and expressive to excess, and while it attempts to convey emotion in a story about outward reserve, I felt like it just undercut any gravity or impact in the story. The love interest looked like a child, which was just generally distressing, as well as being unconvincing.

 

In terms of story, the pace doesn't feel quite as rushed as some of the manga classics, except perhaps at the end. Austen's language is more accessible than some, so I could see this being helpful for hesitant readers or anyone looking for a pretty Coles Notes version of a classic novel.

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review 2017-12-14 12:13
Such a Beautiful Hindquarter of Pork: "Emma" by Jane Austen
Emma - Jane Austen,Fiona Stafford

I wonder if a variation on the Unreliable Narrator is permissible here? Jane Austen's Emma, while narrated solely by the author herself, is told exclusively from the title character's point of view (chime in and correct me if there are scenes in which she doesn't take part, however minor) so that Austen becomes Emma's interpreter, and our interlocutor. It's a very deliberate choice, because Austen then goes on deftly but in plain sight to give you every reason to question Emma's headlong conclusions, while knowing full well that you'll simply go right along with Emma anyway. Surprisingly, none of this feels tricksy or opportunistic, though of course it might had Austen not had this particular objective unwaveringly in her sights: The Unreliable Reader. If we look at the story from within Emma's world, she's a classic unreliable narrator, primarily to poor Harriet Smith. Emma's wishful and willful narratives consistently mislead Harriet, who depends entirely on Emma's versions of things. To make matters more complex, Emma really should have known better, as she admits (to her credit) when her eyes are opened. Nor is Emma the only unreliable narrator. She is misled in her turn by Frank Churchill's camouflaging accounts of his relationship to Jane Fairfax. Again, the reliability angle is enriched when Frank thinks at one point that Emma does perceive his attachment to Jane.

 

 

If you're into Mundane Fiction, read on.

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text 2017-12-08 13:23
Reading progress update: I've read 651 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Mansfield Park **


This is allegedly Austen's least popular work and Pride & Prejudice must surely be the most popular. Why? Comparison may be instructive.

 

P&P's romantic heroes are a dashing, rich, titled, educated and intelligent man and a pretty (but not the most beautiful), educated, intelligent woman who knows here own mind and insists on being appreciated for that mind. Mansfield Park's romantic heroes are a stick-in-the-mud boring but kind and principled second son likely to be comfortably off but not set to inherit the Estate and a timid, shy, submissive, boring girl who at least grows enough spine to not accept a loveless marriage to a morally defective but rich suitor.

 

The tone of P&P is one of wit, sardonic humour and sly social observation. There is little of this in Mansfield Park. It is replaced with a preachy moralising.

 

That's probably enough right there. I just don't think modern readers are nearly as receptive to the ideals presented by Fanny and Edmund as compared to those of Lizzy Bennet and Darcy and similarly, wit goes over better than sermons these days.

 

I struggled with much of the first 4/5ths, at times finding it hard to differentiate all the characters, especially the two Misses Bertram and to establish the connections between them all - especially so in the amateur theatrical week which proves crucial to all that comes later. Eventually I found myself intrigued as to how it was all going to resolve, making the final (sensational) fifth much more interesting.

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text 2017-12-07 23:02
Reading progress update: I've read 625 out of 1220 pages.
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen

Oh noes! Tom is seriously ill!

 

Somehow, Austen has sucked me in to caring how everything turns out and there isn't so very many pages to resolve it all in. Well done, Austen - not sure how you did that, since the first 200p were mostly a chore and the characters are uniformly unappealing, except for William.

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