Wednesday, March 22, 2006

#14 - The Jane Austen Book Club

The very first entry in my Book A Day challenge is Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club. It's a non-starter of a little book about the lives of six people who come together to read Jane Austen's novels. The story is told in the 3rd person but from each host's point of view from within the month that she (or he as there's one man) has the club to her house.

The book suffers slightly from the switching POVs, in that you don't really get a true sense of any one character. The stories are sort of all over the place and the three most fully realized characters, Jocelyn, Sylvia and Allegra (her daughter) still feel kind of one-dimensional.

Regardless of the above, Fowler's characters are quite interesting portraits, even if they're not fully drawn and realized. And I quite like the ingenious idea of pulling them all together through their own readings and interpretations of Austen's classic works. All in all, my final thoughts would have to be that the book's narrative kind of suffers from a kind of jack of all trades, master of none sort of problem; it has lots of interesting information with no real guts to hold it all together. Oh, and I'm so tired of the meta-meta-meta pomo blah de blah crappy 'cuteness' that seems to plague so many books these days.

You know the moment when all the characters are at a library fundraiser and some pompous 'writer' of detective novels shows up and spews colloquialisms about the writing process and then steals someone else's story? Moments like those are so done. Please stop writing them.

No comments: