Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Persuasion by Jane Austen



Persuasion by Jane Austen was my book club read for September and by coincidence Rachel at  Book Snob is currently hosting a read-a-long. It was actually my first time reading Persuasion though I'm familiar with the story because of the BBC adaptation. It is a lovely book. I'm glad I finally read it and that I got to experience Anne's emotions together with her. The regret of a lost love, the 'what ifs?' The return of that person and 'oh, does he still feel the same?' or 'oh no he doesn't.' The excitement of just being in the same room with him. The slight jealousy and wondering if he now loves another. The 'butterflies in your stomach' feeling of walking beside him but not knowing what he is thinking. And yes, the letter! The beautiful letter that can make even a reader blush. The thrill of finally knowing you are loved by the person you love. Persuasion is wonderful and very different from Austen's other books. It has so much depth, emotion and wisdom. In the end, there is no regret for the past but only joy for the present.

My book club loved the book and we surprisingly had quite a lot to discuss. In fact too much to write about here. Whilst discussing and remembering Jane Austen's other works, I was reminded of the film Sense & Sensibility and Emma Thompson's acceptance speech for the Golden Globe award for best adapted screenplay. It was delightful to see this again. How would Jane Austen herself have accepted the award? Click on play to find out.


10 comments:

  1. I should re read this one because I don't remember it as well as some of Austen's other books, but I remember liking it. I am curious as to whether my book club would be receptive to reading Austen, as we rarely read classics.

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  2. Like you I had only seen TV adaptations, and now having read the book I wonder why I have not read it before!

    I am sure everyone can relate to being next to the person you love and not knowing what they are thinking whilst imaginations create all scenarios!

    I am enjoying getting involved with this read-along.

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  3. @reviewsbylola - When Persuasion was chosen for my book club, I knew I would love it but I wondered what exactly there would be to discuss? There was surprisingly a lot to talk about. Just choose it and go with the flow.

    @Jo - I enjoyed the read-a-long too and having it as a book club read.

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  4. What a lovely review of such a wonderful book. I so enjoyed re experiencing all those emotions, thankful it wasn't actually me in the midst of turmoil.

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  5. I loved Persuasion. It's about a second chance to redeem what turned out to be a stupid decision, but there's sort of a sadness around the whole novel. Then there are these passages of really subversive humor. Worth rereading several times.

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  6. Glad you enjoyed it so much - it really is an emotional rollercoaster, isn't it?!

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  7. Jane Austen is such a pleasure to read in Persuasion. I am happy you liked it!

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  8. You say that 'Persuasion' is "very different from Austen's other books." I don't wish to contradict you, since it is perfectly possible to count many similarities between works and yet still be left with a strong sense of how they differ. Nevertheless, similarities I observed included the importance of securing a suitable marriage, wounded male pride, and a heroine with an embarrassing family: all features we find elsewhere in the Austen canon, not least in P&P. 'Emma' seems a long way from Persuasion I would admit. Having said that, notice how the hard-done to friend in 'Emma' is a Miss Smith and the friend fallen on hard times in 'Persuasion' is a Mrs Smith. I wonder if a modern editor would have tried to persuade (if you'll excuse the pun) Austen to choose a different surname for Anne's old school-friend to avoid repetition?

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  9. @David Nolan - Yes, I agree on the similarities you mentioned - the desire for a suitable marriage, etc... I guess these all reflect the time and the society that Austen lived in. My book club was also struck by how much she repeats the names of her characters. I think there were 3 men named Charles in Persuasion alone. However, I do think Persuasion is different in that it focused more on the heroine, Anne's inner life. Did you notice she hardly had any dialogue in the book compared to the rest? It's much more emotional and in the end wiser than her other novels because in spite of it all, Anne did not regret her first decision. I think it shows that this is Austen's last novel because it's definitely the most mature of her works.

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  10. This is one of my all time favorite award speeches. Emma Thompson is multi-talented, both in writing and acting. But since you've put her in here with your Persuasion post, a thought just came to me. She'd be excellent, well not now, but maybe 15 years ago when she was doing S & S, she'd be an excellent choice to play Anne Elliot. And my choice for Captain Wentworth: Alan Rickman... again, 15 years ago. ;)

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