Martha's Reviews > Love and Friendship

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
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Sep 04, 11

bookshelves: 2011, fiction, humor, reviews
Read from September 02 to 04, 2011

Jane Austen's juvenilia. The first of them written at age 14. The sharp eye for what's really happening, the ear for dialog, the unfailing BS meter, the wit that goes to the bone, the rapier-edged turns of phrase, the snobs, the buccaneers, the fortune-hunting jilters, even the names that will reappear attached to some of the most memorable characters in Eng lit--Dashwood, Annesley, Crawford, Willoughby. You can glimpse the incipient Lady Catherine, Lydia Bennett, Mrs. John Dashwood, lots of fun.

A short book. All epistolary--some just single letters--as Faye Weldon says in the intro, they're short stories all by themselves. Fascinating to think about how Austen decided she could get closer to what she wanted when she changed the first epistolary draft of P&P into an omniscient author narrative. And put in a few characters of principle and sense around whom the chaos could swirl. Don't you wish we had a diary that explained some of that.

If you know Austen and want to see how she got started, this is a great find.
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