Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Before I start, if you don't already own this book, go buy it now. I'll wait.

Seriously. There's a link to up there. Just do the 1-Click thing and then come on back.


Ready? OK. Now, you might have heard me rave about Karen Joy Fowler's work before . . . wait a minute. Some of you just opened another window and didn't follow through. You thought to yourselves, "I don't even like Jane Austen." Or maybe you've never read her. Big deal. Neither have I, although I plan to now. Quit whining and do as you're told.

All set?

Jane Austen wrote six novels. The Jane Austen Book Club has six members, most of them at least a bit irritating, all of them ultimately endearing and real. Karen Joy Fowler's novels are always rewarding, but none is as easy to love as this one. The voice of the club--the narrative "we" which runs throughout the novel--never runs out of devastatingly funny observations on the members, their relationships in and out of the club, writing, Austen, and itself. It's so damned funny that it's easy to overlook how much is going on behind the scenes--the sly commentaries, the metatextual riffs, and (I'm certain, although I'll have to read it again post-Austen to be sure) the mirrorings of its namesake. I don't know if I'm going to like Austen--I've resisted her for a long time, but KJF has convinced me that I must give her a shot. If nothing else, I have to read her so I can re-read this book.

So. Those of you who still haven't ordered it, what are you waiting for?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Dave. I'm hoping to pick it up next weekend at Wiscon. In the meanwhile, I'm reading Pride and Prejudice to prepare.

(AKA John Trey)

2:36 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hey John:

You must!

I'll see you there, BTW. It will be nice to meet before our Quimby's reading on Tuesday . . .

4:01 PM  

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