Recently, Pj and I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, a film about a group of readers — five women and one guy — who meet once a month to discuss one of Jane Austen’s books. One month it’s Sense and Sensibility; the next it’s Persuasion and so on. The movie was directed by Robin Swicord, who also wrote the screenplay, and stars Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, and Hugh Dancy. Here’s the trailer:
I don’t think the movie was a huge success or critically acclaimed, but I really liked it. I thought all of the actors were good and that the plot was endearing.
So, I asked a friend of mine to lend me her copy of the novel by Karen Joy Fowler so I could read it. I had started it a week or so ago, and I took it with me to visit PJ and finished it on my first night in Worcester. To state it bluntly, I loved the novel. It’s now one of my favorite novels, I think.
What I liked most about it is that the narrative is actually much more complicated than one might think a novel about people reading Jane Austen novels would be. It’s actually rather postmodern in its narrative form. The novel has a narrator, who appears to be one of the book club members, but we never know which one. One portion of the novel is told through a series of emails exchanged by a group of peripheral characters. And finally, the questions for book clubs at the end of the book are “written” by the characters themselves — they’re hilarious!