Reading Jane Austen is always a felicitous endeavor. There goes my pitiful attempt at constructing a pseudo-Austenesque sentence.
Jane Austen is possibly the grandmother of romcom, the constant readers know the main couple of the book will end up together, the pleasure is derived from following the circuitous route they take to get there. Coming from finishing the epic War & Peace
audiobook to this requires quite a radical shift in expectation. In the grand scheme of things the plot of Persuasion
seems to be rather inconsequential. Do I care if this nice lady Anne Elliot marries the man she deserves? Not so much because the process does not seem to involve much in the way hardship. The odd bit of hand wringing and pacing back and forth does not generate a lot of tension.
In term of characterization I find this book is inferior to Austen’s best known work [b:Pride and Prejudice|1885|Pride and Prejudice|Jane Austen|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320399351s/1885.jpg|3060926] Anne Elliot is a stoic protagonist archetype who seems to revel in her melancholy. The other characters do not leave much of an impression. The brief backstory of Anne and Captain Wentworth’s prior relationship (which suffered almost a permanent breakdown thanks to her busybody’s friend’s persuasion) deprive the readers of experiencing how their relationship develops to begin with. This makes me feel a little indifferent about their eventual and inevitable fate. As for the main theme of the book there is a rampant amount of persuasions going on in this book, the book’s title could not have been anything else.
What then is the point of someone like me reading this or any Jane Austen book? I read them for the lovely prose and dry humor. The patented Austenesque social satire and comedy of manners of middle-class life in the England.
”He considered his disposition as of the sort which must suffer heavily, uniting very strong feelings with quiet, serious, and retiring manners, and a decided taste for reading, and sedentary pursuits.”
Ha! See what I mean? Besides, I definitely “have a decided taste for reading, and sedentary pursuits”, and I love the way she described the trait. I could easily fill up this review with numerous beautiful quotes but that seems like pointless padding. While nothing very exciting happen throughout the book the story does amble along quite agreeably. The pacing feels more like a leisurely stroll than a forward march.
Regarding the audiobook itself I want to mention that I highly recommend the free Librivox version
, beautifully read by Ms. Karen Savage in very pleasant dulcet tones. Her flowery voice goes hand in hand with the flowery prose. Just the thing for my long bus commutes to work.
Sort of recommended (in audiobook format!)