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The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy…

The Jane Austen Book Club (original 2004; edition 2004)

by Karen Joy Fowler (Author)

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5,6451831,173 (2.96)275
Title:The Jane Austen Book Club
Authors:Karen Joy Fowler (Author)
Info:A Marian Wood Book/Putnam (2004), 304 pages

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The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (2004)

Recently added byCazaerck, rena75, ghsmediacenter, private library, rahkan, KatrinaMorrison, paulcampbell, Janetly

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English (175)  German (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (182)
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
Clever comedy with good characters all in a book club where they read Jane Austen's books. Enjoyable. Looking forward to seeing film of same name - and want to try an Austen now... ( )
  cbinstead | Apr 7, 2019 |
I enjoyed this story of a book club formed to talk about Jane Austen. Each member has their own Austen, she is many different things to each of the people.

The chapters tell us more about the lives of the members. We learn about their own past, what's going on with them now and wrap stories up pretty neatly by the end.

My only confusion her, who is the narrator of this story? Is there another member that is going unmentioned? The author says "we" instead of "they" and even once said "I". When she was using first person, I felt like the narrator might be Bernadette. Honestly I'm confused on this part.

But I enjoyed the stories and liked the ending. Prudie didn't get as much of a closure as the rest, but I guess she needed one the least. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
Got to agree with Jenne on this one. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
A few years ago, a friend urged me to read Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All besides Our Selves. This story told of animal rescue people who plan to release a number of caged chimpanzees used in experimentation. As much as I liked Besides Ourselves, this Fowler novel adds to my admiration of Fowler, while adding to my collection of books with a book club theme. The Jane Austen Book Club pre-dates the first Fowler I read, and it is a worthy addition to my collection.

A “Prologue” lists the members and adds a thumbnail description of their interests and background. Here are main characters. Fowler writes, “Each of us has a private Austen. // Jocelyn’s Austen wrote wonderful novels about love and courtship, but never married. The book club was Jocelyn’s idea, and she handpicked the members. […] Bernadette’s Austen was a comic genius. Her characters, her dialogue remained genuinely funny, […] Prudie had once seen Bernadette in the supermarket in her bedroom slippers; she was the youngest at twenty-eight. […] // Jocelyn met Sylvia when they were both eleven years old; they were in their early fifties now. Sylvia’s Austen was a daughter, a sister, and an aunt, […] who wrote her books in a busy sitting room” (1-2). Corinne, Sylvia’s daughter, was the fifth member.

Bernadette suggested, “I think we should all be women, [ ] The dynamic changes with men. They pontificate rather than communicate. They talk more than their share’” […] “Besides, men don’t do book clubs, […] They see reading as a solitary pleasure. When they read at all” (3). Lastly, the sixth member was Grigg. Fowler writes, “None of us knew who Grigg’s Austen was” (4-5). I really enjoyed watching these six people reveal their innermost feelings about Jane Austen and each other. Incidentally, our club has several male members who admirably participate.

My only regrets about this book is the limited number of members—my club averages about 10-16 per meeting, but the novel only accounts for six meetings. In an epigram, Fowler quotes Austen’s great novel, Emma, “Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.” My love of Jane Austen is second only to the Brontës. I feel the urge for an Austen survey in the near future.

In one interesting discussion, the group creates “A partial list of things not found in the books of Jane Austen: locked-room murders; punishing kisses; girls dressed up as boys (and rarely the reverse); spies, serial killers; cloaks of invisibility; Jungian archetypes, and most regrettably, doppelgängers; and cats” (43).

Allegra weighs in with a criticism of Austen. Fowler writes, “Alegra was trying hard not to express any of Corinne’s opinions, but every time she spoke, Corinne’s words came out. Corinne was in no mood to praise a writer like Austen, who wrote so much about love when the world was full of other things, ‘Everything in Austen is on the surface,’ Corinne said. ‘She’s not a writer who uses images. Image is the way to bring the unsaid into the text. With Austen, everything is said’” (74).

I found the discussions of this club fascinating. I also see many of my friends in our club sharing the same thoughts. I am happiest when not everyone agrees to love, like, or hate a particular book. Sharing this small corner of the 18th and 19th centuries is what I love most about literature. If you haven’t read Austen in a while—or at all—she is certainly worth the time and effort for many wonderful stories. Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austen Book Club is an enchanting place to begin or revisit the world of Jane Austen.

--Chiron, 5/6/18 ( )
  rmckeown | Jun 9, 2018 |
The beginning was a bit hard to get into, but it definitely picked up in the second half as we got to the characters I enjoyed reading about a bit more. I wish there had been a bit more about Grigg and his sisters though, I felt like that could have been an interesting story. Overall, an good story and nice Austen diversion for awhile...and it did make me want to go back and pick up an Austen to read. ( )
  RivetedReaderMelissa | Mar 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
The real problem, though, is that the book club remains a convenience for gathering the novel's capsule stories. Fowler does not contrive any pleasing symmetries between her stories and Austen's, and the characters' discussions of Austen's novels are thin and uninteresting. They manage little more than "I think Catherine Moreland's a charming character", versus "She's very, very silly. Implausibly gullible." Fowler may have faith in Austen, but she does not trust her characters to make you interested in their particular readings. And she is certainly not prepared to make these characters as foolish or parti pris as some of the readers whose judgments Austen so mercilessly recorded.
added by KayCliff | editThe Guardian, John Mulland (Oct 30, 2004)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Joy Fowlerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schraf, KimberlyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken. - Jane Austen, Emma.
For Sean Patrick Jmes Tyrrell,
Missing and forever missed.
First words
We sat in a circle on Jocelyn's screened porch at dusk, drinking cold sun tea, surrounded by the smell of her twelve acres of fresh-mowed California grass.
Above Daniel's head, one leaf, and only one leaf, ticked about on the walnut tree. How exacting, how precise the breeze! It smelled of the river, a green smell in a brown month. She took a deep breath. (p.243)
In general, librarians enjoyed special requests. A reference librarian is someone who enjoys the chase. When librarians read for pleasure, they often pick a good mystery. They tend to be cat people as well, for reasons more obscure. (p.213)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Jane Austen as a
Plot device, badly written
Drivel: not worth it.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452286530, Paperback)

In California’s central valley, five women and one man join to discuss Jane Austen’s novels. Over the six months they get together, marriages are tested, affairs begin,
unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her eye for the frailties of human behavior and her ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Karen Joy
Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.

Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

As six Californians get together to form a book club to discuss the novels of Jane Austen, their lives are turned upside down by troubled marriages, illicit affairs, changing relationships, and love.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (2.96)
0.5 12
1 91
1.5 27
2 281
2.5 78
3 571
3.5 105
4 296
4.5 15
5 73

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