Saturday, 2 April 2011
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
As is obvious from the title it centres around a book club which is working its way through the novels of Jane Austen. There are six members of the group who take turns hosting. We learn about the lives of each character when it is their turn to host, and their lives are in some way linked with the book they are discussing. I have to admit my Austen is a bit rusty (something I intend to remedy this year) and I only really got the connections for the Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. But I think you could have never read any Austen and still enjoy the book.
I think my favourite character was Prudie (Mansfield Park). She is a young woman teacher, happily married to Dean, who loves her and treats her well. She would seem to be well set up in life but is strangely dissatisfied. I thought she was quite a complex character.
One thing which started off puzzling me, then began irritating me was the narration. It's first person, and the narrator says that he/she is a member of the book club. But then goes on to describe all six members in the third person and knows everything about them. So who is the narrator - the ghost of Jane Austen?
But all in all a good read and one that I would recommend.