The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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May 23, 2014

Northanger Abbey {The Austen Project}

This Northanger Abbey is my second foray into The Austen Project {six contemporary writers retelling the six novels in modern dress}, and just for reading enjoyment, I liked it a little more than the first one. {But it's funny ... professional reviewers seemed to like Joanna Trollope's Sense and Sensibility more than I did, and more than I thought they would. I trust my own judgment, but I also wonder what I missed.} 

This book was a little more lively, and good company on the bus, and it was again fun to see what the contemporary writer would do with Jane Austen's characters and plot. In this one, Cat Morland is a home-schooled vicar's daughter from a small village in the 'quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset,' who languishes at home reading vampire novels until she is invited to go with the Allens to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.  She meets the Thorpes and the Tilneys, and everything (I think} that happened in Northanger Abbey happens in Northanger Abbey.  But some characters here seem deliberately overdrawn (Bella Thorpe as a vapid valley girl) or too thoughtful and earnest, and the 'twist' near the end was just annoying.  I'm still holding out hopes for Alexander McCall Smith and his Emma, but these books don't seem able to hold a candle to the modern writers' own books, or (of course) to the real Jane.

Speaking of which, my plan for this long weekend (it's going to be a little rainy) is to sleep late and re-read Mansfield Park, in honor of its 200th anniversary this month.  Hope you have something equally nice in store. :)


Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

It's been a little worrying how lacklustre the reviews have been for these first two books in The Austen Project. Still, I'm hopeful for AMS's Emma and Curtis Sittenfeld's P&P.

JoAnn said...

I think Jane is at her funniest in Northanger Abbey, but am not sure the modern retelling is for me. Enjoy the long weekend with Mansfield Park.

I finished The Interestings last night and plan to finish The Bell Jar today... then we'll see what tomorrow brings :-)

Vintage Reading said...

Sleeping late and reading MP (Austen's version!) sounds perfect to me. The concept of this series troubles me - I'm particularly worried about Curtis Sittenfeld, one of my favourite contemporary writers, taking on P&P.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like the idea of these re-workings at all and I haven't even looked at them. I plan to work my way through the original books again, but this time on audio.

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