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review 2017-02-19 16:56
Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Northanger Abbey is my second Jane Austen novel I have read so far (Pride and Prejudice being the first one) and I enjoyed it, eventhough I had some issues with it.

 

What I liked: It´s a fun and lighthearted story and Catherines endeavours to open up a simple trunk or drawer are hilarious (she sees a gothic mystery in everything). I really adored the part of book that takes place at the actual abbey.

 

What I didn´t like: The first half of the book (the Bath-episode) is too long and nothing of interest happens. I didn´t like the Thorpe´s and Catherine´s inability to see past their demeanour grated on my nerves (I know, I have to cut her some slack. Catherine is only 17 and pretty naive).

I struggled with Jane Austen breaking the fourth wall, adressing Catherine as her heroine and talking directly to the reader. I thought this was utterly distracting from the narrative.

And The ending is just too rushed. All the drama is shoved into the last 20 pages of the story and nothing is developed properly and the the story is all of a sudden over.

 

I still enjoyed Northanger Abbey, despite its flaws, but this won´t be my favorite Austen novel.

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review 2016-07-07 00:00
Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen Catherine Morland is a silly, not very well educated, 17-year old. She gets to take a trip to Bath with some neighbors, the Allens. There, she meets Isabella Thorpe, who introduces Catherine to Gothic novels, in particular the works of Mrs. Radcliffe, most notably The Mysteries of Udolpho. Catherine is entranced, and suddenly she is seeing her life becoming very much like the goings on in Udolpho, with all its creepiness and evil.

Catherine's brother, James, shows up and he becomes enamored by Isabella. Isabella's brother, John, who is a college friend of James, becomes enraptured with Catherine. But, even though Catherine is immensely silly, she can tell that something about John Thorpe isn't quite right.

Catherine also meets Henry Tilney and his sister, Eleanor. Eventually, Eleanor invites Catherine to visit with them at their home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine is immediately intrigued. It's an old Abbey and bound to be just like Udolpho, right? It's bound to have strange messages hidden inside weird cabinets, wailings in the night, Eleanor's father a sadist, and so forth. Well, perhaps, or perhaps not. You'll have to read it to find out.

I was thinking this is likely the weakest of Austen's novels that I've read. But, on reflection, I realize that it is well done. The part with which I was having trouble had to do with the silliness of the heroine. Then I realized that I have a niece who is almost 17, and she's every bit as ignorant and silly as a young woman could ever be. Catherine Morland isn't so much different from real life as I'd initially thought.

Then we have John Thorpe. It doesn't take long to realize that he's a classic narcissist, a self delusional liar with no conscience. He's almost a perfect pre-incarnation of Donald Trump! Austen is prescient, or perhaps, as Ecclesiastes reminds us, "there is nothing new under the sun".

I read this book back in the dark ages when I lived in London and was spending an hour each way in my commute back and forth to Queen Mary College. So, I had much leisure for reading, but didn't have the discretionary income to afford a daily newspaper. Thank God for libraries. Anyway, after I'd read this book, I actually did go on to read The Mysteries of Udolpho. I think I'll likely skip that "pleasure" this time around. But Austen, any Austen, is always worth one's time.
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review 2016-05-23 01:26
Northanger Abbey ★★★☆☆
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen,Alfred Mac Adam

I originally read this in middle school, when I first discovered Pride and Prejudice and immediately began trying to read through all the Jane Austen's I could find. Northanger Abbey was a real disappointment to me. Oddly enough, the satire that I recognized so easily in P&P went completely over my head in NA, so I was puzzled by the pointlessness of a story about an unremarkable girl who visited a scary house, only to find it completely mundane. 

 

I revisited NA for the first time this weekend, and found it much more entertaining. I get the jokes now! However, I still found the story of dull-witted Catherine and her two suitors, one boorish and the other boring, somewhat pointless. Ranking Austen's novels, I'd put this one dead last.

 

Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Anna Massey provides a solid performance. 

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review 2016-04-14 00:00
Northanger Abbey
Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen Well so far I seem to be on a home run with Jane Austen. "Northanger Abbey" is about a young woman named Catherine Morland who goes off to Bath for a season with her next door neighbors the Allens. Catherine who loves Gothic novels is in love with a Ms. Radcliffe's books and dreams of haunted castles and dark brooding heroes.

I have to say that at times I pitied and also wanted to kick Catherine. She really is quite naive with regards to people though by the end of the book she has definitely matured. When Catherine is introduced to Isabella Thorpe she finally finds a young woman who says she is just as engrossed in Gothic novels as she is. Though the reader is given little peeks into Isabelle, Catherine just blissfully goes along with everything her friend says because she believes that Isabelle wants only the best for Catherine.

I already liked the character of Henry Tilney (who Catherine meets in Bath) because he loved to read. I despised the character of John Thorpe (Isabelle's brother) because he only cared for horses and didn't care for novels or people who read them. I did like how Austen set up these two suitors. It would have taken someone with a better heart than Catherine to be interested in John Thorpe and I ended up disliking the whole family.

Other characters in this story definitely do come across showing who they really are, for example, I got to give Isabella two gold-digger snaps for effort. I started to see what this character was about quite soon, it took Henry and Catherine's own brother for her to finally have her eyes opened.

The character of Mrs. Allen who was only focused on her gowns after a while reminded me of a very wonderfully dressed parrot. She never seemed to follow along with what people were saying at all.

I really enjoyed the writing and I have to say that I loved how Austen teases the character of Catherine throughout this book. Because of Catherine's love of Gothic books she allows her head to be turned by dark imaginings and you as a reader start to see how very silly she was being and is being. It seems her love affair with Gothic novels came about the same time that she started to see how people around here were acting as well.

The flow of the book does well throughout. I was worrying the entire time that Catherine was going to make a mistake and end up somehow stuck with the Thorpes for life though. The very beginning of the book was pretty funny and you get a sense of the Moreland family and parents.

The setting of Bath takes center stage in this one as does Northanger Abbey. I had to laugh at Catherine realizing that Northanger Abbey was not some dark filled abbey with ghosts and hidden passages all over.

The ending was very good though I do wonder what did become of the Thorpes.
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text 2016-03-25 16:19
Bookhaul #25

What can I say... I bought books.. again haha. I bought quite a lot, but let's say I blame the stress when it comes to school and they were cheap. Anyhow, these are the books: 

Oorlogswinter is a Dutch classic which I've never read, so when I heard it was only 1 euro, I had to buy it. It's about a winter in World War II. Of course I had to buy In The Afterlight, because it's the third book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. I gave away my copy of The Martian to a friend, because she will (is liking) it more than I do and she gave me Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, because I really want to read it and she doesn't want to anymore. 

Heuh, Penguin Little Black classics? But Vienna, you already own them al?! That's what I thought as well! These are new ones Penguin came out with in March, but this time I decided to buy only the few ones I really want (I want three of four more, trust me). I bought the one by Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Brontë. I've read other works by these authors and loved them all, so of course I had to buy these four first. 

My next goal is to make complete collections of authors that I already own some books of. I already had Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice, but now I own all of her novels. Sadly enough not in the same style (Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are a bit different) and I had to buy Persuasion secondhand and it's a bit colour damaged, but it's complete! The short story collection is also on my way. Jane Austen isn't my favorite author (I've only liked Emma so far), but when I do like/love a book by her, I will also buy a different edition. I really want Emma in the Word Cloud edition, so yea. The edition I have now is very cheap, so then I don't mind.

 

What books have you bought recently? 

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