kingshearte's Reviews > Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
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's review
Nov 22, 11

bookshelves: 2011, fiction, romance
Read from November 04 to 11, 2011 — I own a copy

I've mentioned before that Austen people usually fall into one of two camps: the Mansfield Park camp or the Northanger Abbey camp. Having now read them both, I'd have to say that I'm still in the Northanger Abbey camp, but this one would probably be my next favourite. The social satire in them both is just so much closer to the surface than in others, and I just find that that makes it more fun, because the surface story is still quite slow, with that era's intricate dance of courtship.

Part of what made me enjoy this book less than Northanger Abbey is, I think, the ending. Austen's books usually end fairly quickly, once things start to wrap up, but I found this one even more so. We never actually saw (spoiler alert!) Fanny and Edmund finally hook up; Austen just tells us that it happens, as part of almost an epilogue, which just made it feel very rushed, and not entirely satisfying. We don't actually get to see Edmund realize that his ideal woman has been right in front of him the whole time, or see Fanny's elation at his finally realizing that. But they do end up together as they're supposed to, so I can't complain too much.

This book did make me curious, though, about theatre in books. Is it just me that finds it pretty much invariably tedious to read about fictional characters' theatrical adventures? Is it my own involvement in theatre that makes it annoying? Is it simply that theatre doesn't translate well into fiction? I really don't know. I just know that I can't think of a single instance of fictional theatre that I have truly enjoyed reading about. I'll read about dance quite happily, and I do love a good music story, but theatre? Just does not seem to work for me.

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