Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Jane Austen Education


Here is my BlogHer Book Club review of A Jane Austen Education by William Deresiewicz. To quote:
While Austen’s novels were the very last books in the world that Deresiewicz wanted to read, he discovered that not only do they supersede stereotypical romance novels for deep characterizations and complex and unexpected plot twists, but in each book we are forced to confront unpleasant aspects not only of human nature in general but of our own psyches in particular. (Read entire review.)
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2 comments:

Georgette said...

Very good review, EMV. I have never been much of an Austen fan myself, of course I only read her books after I was in my 40s, so they seemed like very stale and predictable stories. I do realize I likely only feel that way because I was exposed to the lesser "romance stories" first, and surely hers must have seemed fresh in their day. After all, romance stories have had nearly 200 years to copy, build upon, twist and turn since Austen's day. (Charlotte Bronte, on the other hand, is timeless!)

Even so, I appreciate the points you make, particularly this one: "So often in her stories the hero, that is, the eventual spouse of the heroine, is not the handsome, dashing and gallant youth but his quieter, wiser and more prudent counterpart."
This is true in life, as well, and certainly true in your lovely novel, _A Night's Dark Shade_.

In fact, your novel is more to my taste than any Austen one, as I think what you say here applies more to "Night's" than it does to Austen, at least in my way of thinking: "...there is much about life and love to be absorbed by osmosis, just by reading and enjoying the stories. It is possible to learn without realizing one is being taught and the better the storyteller, the more subtle the lesson, the more lasting the impact."

elena maria vidal said...

Gette, honey, you've just made my day.