The Jane Austen Book Club

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Karen Joy Fowler, who has produced some remarkable works of fiction, did not entertain me with this one. I don't like to think of myself as a prude, but I finally got to the point in the book where the scattered but gratuitous foul language so tarnished what meager enjoyment I had from the characters that the better part of valor seemed to abandon th effort. It isn't as though there aren't millions of other books just waiting to be read.

There is no discernable story here. The Book Club is an excuse to tell us about the lives of six characters, and this is a perfectly acceptable set up--it can work quite well when the characters are interesting and the back-story worth telling. In this case neither is particularly try. Fowler's selection of details is such that one ends up saying, "So?" Her delineation of character seems to be centered on the surprise expletive here and there.

The six characters of the novel are, I suppose, meant to have some oblique relationship with the six Austen books of the full canon of that great writer.

My only reaction is, what a shame that such a great writer received so poor a tribute from another very capable writer. Unless you are a die-hard Austenite dead-set on reading every book by and about her, give this one a miss--you'll be glad you did.

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Glad to see someone besides me pitched this one before finishing it.

I think I got 1/3 of the way in before I put it in the "go to Goodwill" sack. It didn't even merit a place on the shelves any longer.....



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on June 13, 2006 8:31 AM.

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