Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Thoughts on Curtis Sittenfeld's Eligible

27. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld










Initial Thoughts

1. Holy short chapters

2. Cincinnati--how appropriate

3. Sittenfeld's read P&P at least as many times as I have (>I can count) because Austen is in the language even with no obvious parallels.

Spoilers

4. I love Lizzy/Darcy hate sex.

5. Finally, the answer to the real mystery of P&P--what IS the deal with Mary?

Reflections

6. The most difficult part of updating Pride & Prejudice is the tectonic shift in Western social values. Although many social taboos from Austen's day no longer persist, Sittenfeld triumphantly substitutes the few modern taboos left in a way that requires no suspension of disbelief.

7. I've read all of Sittenfeld's published work, and for the most part, her writing and storytelling continue to mature. Her first book, Prep, still deeply affects me. So, one of my favorite authors updating the work of one of my other favorite authors should have thrilled me. Instead, while I think Sittenfeld did a better update than almost any author living could have done--I want more original work from her.

8. Austen set the bar high, and Eligible doesn't transcend her work. However, it's more than the romantic comedy that often gets compared to Austen--Sittenfeld succeeds not only in time-traveling the P&P cast (splitting a few personalities)  into the 21st century, but in turning truly Austenesque snark on today's culture.

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