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The Jane Austen Book Club Paperback – April 26, 2005
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"What strikes one first is the voice: robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected." — Margot Livesey,The New York Times Book Review
"A luxuriant pleasure!" —Alice Sebold
"Part character study, part social commentary, part literary puzzle, Book Club builds on Fowler's success as an author of highly creative fiction." —The New York Times Book Review
“Karen Joy Fowler creates a novel that is so winning, so touching, so delicately, slyly witty that admirers of Persuasion and Emma will simply sigh with happiness.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
“Start quoting a few of Fowler’s puckish lines and it becomes damnably difficult to stop. . . The Jane Austen Book Club amounts to a witty meditation on how the books we choose, choose us too.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The Jane Austen Book Club offers a sparkling rumination on the act of reading itself and how beloved books can serve as refuge, self-definition, snobbish barricades against other people or pathways out of the old self to a wider world. [It is] a terrific comic novel about a closed society merrily transforming itself by reading.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s All Things Considered
"[Fowler] does so terrific a job of bringing her characters to life that Austen’s work falls away like a husk. It’s an impressive feat of homage, since Fowler essentially borrowsAusten’s great themes…and makes them her own. Miss Austen would be proud.” —The Denver Post
About the Author
Karen Joy Fowler, a PEN/Faulkner and California Book Award winner, is the author of six novels (two of them New York Times bestsellers) and four short story collections. She has been a Dublin IMPAC nominee, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.
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I have to say I'm disappointed. It moves seamlessly from past and present without any acknowledgement. While things like that work on a movie or television screen, it doesn't necessarily come across on the page. If there'd been some kind of annotation it would've made it much more readable and therefore enjoyable.
Readers typically think that a movie from a book is just never as good as the book was originally. This may be an exception.
The movie took what Fowler wanted to do, shows that each of Jane's books ties into the characters in her novel in some way. That there lives in our modern world might be a parallel to characters from the novel.
The movie, with the ability to hear more than one voice to craft a structure, does this a great deal better. The book has its wonderful moments, and you can see how the team for the movie did not do anything but enhance the work of Fowler to make the movie a pleasure to watch and rematch. To declare that this inspiration can turn out to be a gem.
Fowler though needed more editing to have achieved that goodness that the movie gave us. There were whole pieces of information about the characters that needed to be cut and slashed. While there were insights that were poetical in the development of our reading group.
These though, were hampered by great long stretched of Tell not Show. Perhaps Show don't Tell is dying out. It used to be Tell a century and a half ago. But in this work, there was no balance about it, and in this work, the insights into the Austen Canon, along with that of the matching of the characters of the story were not as good as the casting in the movie gave us.
It is not a never again, but this is not a read for every year, or every other year. The movie, however is something worth watching each year, and each time more depth by the team is shown.
I was absolutely thrilled with the first chapter, thinking I'd found what would become one of my favorite books. The story of Jocelyn, the first member to host a club meeting, was brilliant -- charming, lively, witty and touching; however, subsequent chapters were less charming, less interesting and, most disappointing, discussed the Austen novels less and less as they progressed.
Still an enjoyable, if flawed, read.