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Lady Susan Paperback – November 8, 2005
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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As others have noted, the book takes place entirely in the form of letters that various characters exchange, but rest assured that there's still a lot of Austen's trademark dialogue rather than just summaries of various events. A lot of the humor and cleverness comes from seeing how some of the same people and events are perceived differently by various characters, and how Lady Susan's rosy view of herself differs so radically from the increasingly clear reality of who she is.
This isn't just a series of meandering musings; there's an actual narrative and, for me, a surprisingly satisfying resolution to it. The conflicts and suspense revolve around who (if anyone!) a few of the characters will end up marrying, the fate of Susan's miserable daughter, and which of Lady Susan's schemes to manipulate those around her will succeed.
If you want to fall in love with Austen's more likable, admirable characters and their sigh-worthy romances, this is definitely not the Austen I'd recommend! If, however, you want to read some of the most razor sharp, clever wit and satire that Austen ever wrote, I can't recommend this one highly enough. Plus, the current $0.00 price tag makes this an immensely worthwhile purchase :)
Lady Susan, well she is a bit of a "cougar". A middle aged, ("pretty") woman who is devious, delusional, manipulative, vindictive, self serving and arrogant. She has no maternal feelings at all and she enjoys playing the game.......I found her quite delightful, she quite puts Lizzie Eustace from Trollope's The Eustace Diamonds in the pale with her machinations.
Was surprised to find that this is an earlier work and that it's not more well known. More than worth a look at.
The trouble is that unless you are one of the unfortunate individuals in their firing line, these people ensure the rest of the world thinks they are marvellous.
Hats off to Jane Austen for identifying this type of behaviour at such a young age. And of understanding the personalities of the people surrounding them.
Her decision to write her story as a series of letters was both brilliant and doomed to failure.
The careful choosing of words and saying without saying worked really well at the start, but by midway through, the need for scenes with dialogue overrode a letter's capabilities.
Had she returned to this project later in life, she may have worked a way around it, interspersing action with letters. But perhaps that would have negated what she was trying to do. Write the whole thing in the form of letters.
She also possibly understood by then that characters like Lady Susan do exist, but they rarely become true heroes of a story because they never or rarely improve because they refuse to ever admit they are in the wrong.
Modern psychology says the only way to deal with someone with NPD is to avoid them.
From a distance, they (and Lady Susan) can be regarded with pity. It takes a special person to love them.
So, while this story was never completed by the author, it remains as a true testament of her insight into people and their strengths and weaknesses.