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In California's central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.
Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.
288 pages, Paperback
First published April 22, 2004
“I think we should be all women,” Bernadette suggested next. “The dynamic changes with men. They pontificate rather than communicate. They talk more than their share.”
Jocelyn opened her mouth.
“No one can get a word in,” Bernadette warned her. “Women are too tentative to interrupt, no matter how long someone has gone on.”
Jocelyn cleared her throat.
“Besides, men don’t do book clubs,” Bernadette said. “They see reading as a solitary pleasure. When they read at all.”
Jocelyn closed her mouth.
Two members of the Jane Austen Book Club. (Page 3)
Bernadette's Austen was a comic genius. Her characters, her dialogue remained genuinely funny, not like Shakespeare's jokes, which amused you only because they were Shakespeare's and you owed him that.