Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen

Genre: Fiction (Classic/Literary)

Love/Hate?: Looooooooooooooooove.
Rating: 4/5
Did I finish?: I did!

One-sentence summary: Middle child given bad life advice, misses out on man of her dreams, but gets second chance!

Why did I get this book?: I have the 'Jane Austen is my Homegirl' challenge; and I was in the mood.

Source: Local library!

Do you like the cover?: Yes -- I like the sweet simplicity of it, although I think the row boat is a bit odd. Schooner perhaps?

Did this book make me wish my commute were longer?: YES. Or that I should have no commute and could sit around a read all day.

Did this book require a dictionary?: YES: ├ęclaircissement (the clearing up of anything which is obscure or not easily understood; an explanation), and weirdly enough, retrench, only because I thought I knew what it meant, but decided to double check.

Did I eventually have to quit dog earring any page with a quote I liked because I was going to end up simply retyping the novel?: YES

Review: How do you review Jane Austen if you're not Harold Bloom or Margaret Drabble? I can't even, so I'll discuss this particular edition: Signet Classic (2008), with an introduction by Margaret Drabble (from 1964) and an afterward by Diane Johnson (of Le Mariage/Le Divorce fame).

I feel like I also should come clean and say straight out that Pride & Prejudice is not my favorite Austen (seriously, I don't get the Darcy love). My favorite Austen is Northanger Abbey. I cut my teeth on Gothics like Mysteries of Udolpho and have always felt rather affectionately toward Catherine Morland. After that, Persuasion tops my list. So despite any flaws this book might have in terms of plot or characters, I really love this book.

Diane Johnson's Afterword was an enjoyable addition. As an aspiring novelist, I read for enjoyment -- but also, to learn. Johnson reviews Austen's techniques and highlights her skillful writing. I rather wish it was offered at the beginning -- Johnson's notes inspire a close reading.


  1. I have never read any Jane Austen and I really, really should. Your review makes her sound very palatable.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog - I'm glad you entered the book giveaway, and I DO hope my blog can inspire you to write more letters in the future. It is a fabulous pastime, and so many letter-writers are readers! I've gotten my best book recommendations lately from pen pals.

  2. I like Jane Austen enough but she's not one of my do-or-die favorites (I much prefer her contemporary, Fanny Burney, who writes many epistolary novels!). But I find Persuasion to be a good starter Austen because one, many haven't seen the film version so they're aren't loaded with preconceived ideas of what things should be/look like; and two, because it hasn't hit the cultural critical mass of P&P. I feel like it gives you the chance to decide if you like Austen!

    My single real penpal experience was rich with books and almost all my book recommendations came from her. I miss that -- so it feels very propitious that I found your blog!

  3. this is the one remaining of the six that i still have to read. i see you place it above p&p. so looking forward to finally dipping into this one as p&p remains my fave.

  4. My very favorite Austen novel, and I completely agree with you about P&P. I think "Emma" was Austen's most well crafted novel, but "Persuasion" her very best and most heart-felt story.

    While I've not read many of the books you've reviewed here, I am very taken with your thoroughness and frank approach (and with a nice dose of humor too!). Your love of books, authors, and all things literary really shines through brightly. Keep up the great work! I'll be back. Cheers! Chris