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Persuasion Mass Market Paperback – April 26, 2005

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Editorial Reviews Review

Anne Elliot, heroine of Austen's last novel, did something we can all relate to: Long ago, she let the love of her life get away. In this case, she had allowed herself to be persuaded by a trusted family friend that the young man she loved wasn't an adequate match, social stationwise, and that Anne could do better. The novel opens some seven years after Anne sent her beau packing, and she's still alone. But then the guy she never stopped loving comes back from the sea. As always, Austen's storytelling is so confident, you can't help but allow yourself to be taken on the enjoyable journey.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Stevenson has read all of Austen's novels for audiobook, in abridged or unabridged versions, and her experience shows in this delightful production. Though dominated by the intelligent, sweet voice of Anne Elliot—the least favored but most worthy of three daughters in a family with an old name but declining fortunes—Stevenson provides other characters with memorable voices as well. She reads Anne's haughty father's lines with a mixture of stuffiness and bluster, and Anne's sisters are portrayed with a hilariously flighty, breathy register that makes Austen's contempt for them palpable. Anne's voice is mostly measured and reasonable—an expression of her strong mind and spirit—but Stevenson imbues her speech with wonderful shades of passion as Anne is reacquainted with Capt. Wentworth, whom she has continued to love despite being forced, years before, to reject him over status issues. Listening to Stevenson, as Anne, describe a sudden encounter with Wentworth, one hardly needs Austen's description of how Anne grows faint—Stevenson's perfectly judged and deeply felt reading has already shown that she must have. Even those who have read Austen's novels will find themselves loving this book all over again with Stevenson's evocative rendition ringing richly in their ears. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (August 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451526384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451526380
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (619 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,456,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

294 of 306 people found the following review helpful By Jana L.Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Persuasion" is a great literary work, and, to my mind, Jane Austen's finest book. This was her final completed novel before her death, and was published posthumously. As is often the case with Ms. Austen's fiction, "Persuasion" deals with the social issues of the times and paints a fascinating portrait of Regency England, especially when dealing with the class system. Rigid social barriers existed - and everyone wanted to marry "up" to a higher station - and, of course, into wealth. This is also a very poignant and passionate story of love, disappointment, loss and redemption. The point Austen makes here, is that one should not ever be persuaded to abandon core values and beliefs, especially for ignoble goals. There are consequences, always.

Gillian Beer writes a fascinating Introduction in this Penguin Classic Edition, in which she discusses Miss Austen's portrayal of the double-edged nature of persuasion. This complete and unabridged edition also contains a biography of the author, an Afterword, a new chronology and full textual notes.

Sir Walter Elliot, Lord of Kellynch Hall, is an extravagant, self-aggrandizing snob, and a bit of a dandy to boot. He has been a widower for many years and spends money beyond his means to increase his social stature. His eldest daughter, who he dotes on, is as conceited and spoiled as he is. The youngest daughter, Anne, is an intelligent, sensitive, capable and unassuming woman in her late twenties when the story opens. She had been quite pretty at one time, but life's disappointments have taken their toll and her looks are fading. She and her sister are both spinsters. Anne had once been very much in love with a young, and as yet untried, navel officer.
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116 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 30, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is one of my favorites of all time. Many people dislike it or don't like it as much when compared to Pride and Prejudice or Emma, but there are many reasons why Persuasion should not be compared to Austen's other novels. This novel was the last one that Austen wrote before she died. It is a more mature novel, dealing with many issues not found in Austen's previous novels. One reason why people find faults with the book is that Anne Elliot, the heroine, is not as spunky or witty as an Elizabeth Bennett or an Emma Woodhouse. There is not so much wit flowing in the dialogue between characters, or even dialogue in general. But these differences between the novels make this one so unique.
It is a novel of second chances. Anne Elliot, no longer in the bloom of youth, is a grown woman of 27 or 28 years. Eight years ago she had been happily in love with a handsome man named Frederick Wentworth. But, unfortunately, due to his financial status, and Anne under the influence of her family and close friend, was forced to reject his marriage proposal and they parted ways. But now, he is within her closest circle once again. Circumstances led to Anne staying with her married sister, Mrs. Muskgrove, while her own house was being let to Wentworth's sister and husband. Wentworth visits his sister and on calling on the Muskgroves finds Anne among them. Anne finds Wentworth, not only looking as good as he ever did, but is now Captain Wentworth, who has made his fortune. Wentworth, still angry with Anne over being rejected, causes him to treat Anne very cooly. But over many weeks of contact here and there, you catch on that Captain Wentworth isn't all that oblivious to Anne anymore, because of all the little 'glimpses' he throws at Anne. The tension between the two is amazing.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By WIAPilot VINE VOICE on May 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over the years, I have read "Persuasion" by Jane Austen at LEAST 10 times. Simply put, it is my favorite book. While not everyone holds this novel with the same high esteem that I do, I urge those who have NOT read "Persuasion" to buy it.
This book has meant different things to me at different times in my life. I have often reflected why I find the story so fascinating and believe it is because it so accurately portrays the human spirit and exposes our flaws and strengths with such transparency.
Jane Austen reveals those who are so superficial that they see no goodness or worth other than beauty and wealth (Anne's father and sister); those who are so dependent that they do not listen to their own heart - but instead leave their most important decisions for others to make (Anne herself); and those whose pride has been wounded.
And perhaps what is so captivating, Austen lets the reader vicariously "undo" an error in judgment. This is an excellent and timeless novel.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Theodore J. Remington on August 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
One of the major sources of contention and strife in my marriage is the disagreement between my wife and me over what is the best Jane Austen novel (yes, we are both more than a bit geekish in our love of words and literature--our second biggest ongoing quarrel is about the merits of the serial comma).

For my money, there are three of Austen's six finished novels that one can make a good argument for being her "best":

"Pride and Prejudice" (the popular choice, and my wife's)

"Emma" (the educated choice--most lit profs go with this one)

"Persuasion" (the truly refined choice)

Harrold Bloom in "The Western Canon" calls it perhaps a "perfect novel," and while I disagree with some of his interpretations of the characters (yes, blasphemy, I know), I wholeheartedly concur with his overal assessment.

While all of Austen's novels are generally comic, "Persuasion" is the most nuanced. It's been described as "autumnal" and that word suits it. There's a bittersweetness to it that you just don't get in Austen's other work.

The novel it comes closest to in terms of character and plot is probably one of her earliest novels "Sense and Sensibility." Like Eleanor in that novel, Anne is older and more mature than the typical Austen heroine. In fact, she's dangerously close to being "over the hill" at the age of 27(!). Love has passed her by, apparently.

But unlike Eleanor, who one always feels will muddle through even if she ends up disappointed in affairs of the heart, there's something more dramatically at stake with Anne. She is in great danger of ceasing to exist, not physically, but socially. When we meet her, she's barely there at all.
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