The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Publisher: Plume | 2007 (first published 2004) | 288 pages
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Book description from Amazon:
In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.
Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.
I picked up this book because I enjoyed the movie. And also to read about how the characters’ lives intertwined with the reading of Jane Austen’s six novels. I have not read many Austen novels as I have only read Pride and Prejudice!
The book is interesting and organised as each chapter is dedicated to reading one novel. In that chapter, we get to know more about each character. I noticed that unlike the movie, the book tends to focus on a lot of backstories of the characters. At least in the movie, we can see how the relationships between the characters develop, especially between Jocelyn and Grigg.
It is a quick, light and enjoyable read after all. Austen is just so appealing and any novel based on her or her works are just as engaging as well. But there was just too many backstories that I don’t remember what I read earlier if I picked up the book again to continue reading where I left off.
One mistake I made was watching the movie during the reading of this book. I got confused with the storyline while reading as snippets of the movie would play in my mind! So, word of warning, only watch the movie before or after reading the book. =)
Reading this also helped me be more familiar with the other Austen novels that I’m not familiar with yet such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.