Anmiryam's Reviews > Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
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Jan 19, 2012

it was ok
Read from December 27 to 28, 2011

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good writer attempting to emulate a great writer will invariably fail. Even if that good writer is considered to be the doyenne of her genre, readers seeking the focused wit and social observation of the original creator will close her book frustrated, especially if many reviewers extoll the sequel's virtues as entertainment and fitting homage.

A few brief passages sparkle with the reflected brilliance of Austen and most of them have been extensively quoted in reviews. If you are looking for the good lines, read those and forget the book. If however, you wish to be entertained for several hours, James, crafts an enjoyable if predictable mystery. Her style is far more descriptive of the environment of Pemberley and unlike Austen, she neglects to reveal character through dialogue and interaction, but relies solely on reflection. Most disappointingly, perhaps because of her own preferences for central male characters, James exerts virtually all of her energy on expanding on Mr. Darcy's character instead of allowing Elizabeth to remain front and center. Her motherly Elizabeth bears no resemblance to the intelligent and appealingly flawed center of Pride and Prejudice. It's as if James believes that marriage and motherhood are truly the end of the line for women and the assumption of these roles consign them forever banal characterizations as Madonnas (Elizabeth, Jane) or Medusas (Lady Catherine, Mrs. Bennet, Lydia).

I expected better.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Regan (new) - added it

Regan I love P.D. James, but book seemed so out of character for her that I'm not surprised it wasn't successful. James is an intelligent, philosophical and earnest writer, while the original characters came from someone who was clever and had verve. Not really a good match.


message 2: by Carolina (new) - added it

Carolina Such a mediocre author who can only do a cheap genre should not attempt to emulate the greatness of Austen.


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