Ms. Austen was a highly skilled writer. The story is told from the perspective of the characters. She doesn't really spend much time describing the setting. She is a wonderful wordsmith and, at times, has a razor-sharp wit. (I wish I could speak like Elizabeth does!) This is my introduction to Jane Austen. I read this story via an audiobook format from Librivox.org. I'm tempted to read an actual book (made from dead trees) as I felt that I was missing some of the nuances of the story.
I have just finished reading the dead-tree version of P & P. My instinct was correct in that experiencing the story via the written page does increase my respect for Ms. Austen as a wordsmith. However, I do not want to even hint at disparaging the Librivox audiobook. The reader does an excellent job.
I stand by my earlier review. If one were to write an outline or a timeline of the story, he/she would be underwhelmed. This is not a book that will give the reader a fair description of the sights, sounds, and sensual experiences of the time-frame (late 17th or early 18th century). Ms. Austen concentrates on the interactions of the characters. Her brilliant arrangement of words transports an unimpressive plot (that would be mediocre even by Harlequin Romance standards) and brings it to the very threshold of great literary works.
Her style represents the very best of British understatement. My favorite passages involved brilliant satire that was downright poetic. Some passages will be re-read multiple times in appreciation.
I read the Barnes & Noble edition. The footnotes and endnotes were helpful. The observations by authors, contemporaries and such were fascinating. There are lists and descriptions of fan fiction and mini-series depictions. However, I would not recommend reading the preface until afterwards as there are some spoilers.