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The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy…

The Jane Austen Book Club (2004)

by Karen Joy Fowler

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
I've just completed it this evening, and while I like it, I was not blown away. Perhaps I'm not subtle enough. I did enjoy Jane Austen's novels, if that counts! ( )
  wareagle78 | Apr 5, 2014 |
I listened to the audiobook version, and while I enjoyed the reader, I get too distracted while driving to fully pay attention, so I was not as attentive to the book as I would have been if I was reading it myself.

That said, I really liked the book. I really loved Fowler's latest book (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves), so I figured I would like this one, too. Each of the characters were unique, funny, and frustrating in their own way. I just wish we got more time with each of them! I wanted to know if anything ever came of Prudie's fantasies about her students. Fowler just kind of dropped that story line. I would read a book just about Sylvia and Jocelyn growing up and discovering Austen! I was also inspired to finally crack open my own Austen anthology (even though Jocelyn and Sylvia would scoff at it) and read the Austen novels I've never read before (Persuasion and Mansfield Park).

However, I am going to steer clear of the movie version of The Jane Austen Book Club, as it looks terrible. ( )
  kaylaraeintheway | Apr 3, 2014 |
3 - 3.5 stars

This review contains MINOR spoilers. Nothing that will give away anything about the story itself - i promise.

1. I liked how in April the last part was about Austen and her strugles to be published. I had no idea that Pride and Prejudice's original title was "First Impressions".

2. Prudie's husband seriously reminded me of my boyfriend. So thoughtful, loving and caring.

3.Sylvia is a "pocket philosopher" - i like that. The book contains a lot a good quotes from her.

4.I actually really liked (in spite of others) the fact that the book contains so much back history about the characters.

5. I really like the part about the novels and response to Jane Austen's novels in the end (pages 250 - 288). I haven't read it yet (since i don't want spoilers for rest of Austen's books) - but i really like that it is there.

Some great quotes:
"Why should unhappiness be so much more powerful than happiness? -Sylvia"

"What if you had a happy ending and didn't notice? Sylvia made a mental note. Don't miss the happy ending."

"The mere habbit of learning to love is the thing. -Jane Austen, 1775-1817" ( )
  AmandaEmma | Mar 26, 2014 |
A group of six friends, in Sacramento, gather to distract themselves from loss - a newly dumped Sylvia, Prudie's repressed disappointment, or Jocelyn, who has a life of unrealized dreams. All are devoted Jane Austen fans, except the lone man, Grigg, who has an ulterior motive for joining the chick-lit gang. There's plenty of pride (Prudie), prejudice (Jocelyn), sense (Sylvia), and sensibility (Sylvia's daughter Allegra). Throw in a fair amount of persuasion. Relationships and alliances unfold over the months.
  AhalyaLiteraryAngels | Dec 22, 2013 |
I picked this book up a few years ago in a charity shop, because (a) it was ridiculously cheap, and (b) I like Jane Austen. I finally got around to reading it because I watched the film adaptation a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it, and I wanted to see how the book and film compared. Of the many reviews I’ve read of this book since finishing it myself, the vast majority are unfavourable, but while I can see what might put people off, I actually enjoyed it a lot.

Six friends start a book club which meets once a month, to discuss the novels of Jane Austen. Each takes their turn at hosting, and while the novel does discuss their meetings, it takes much more time to describe each character’s back story, and the issues which they are facing in their current life. The narration is quite unusual – it is as if the book club has a collective consciousness, and it is from the point of view of this consciousness that the story is told; I can see how that could irritate, but for me anyway, it worked. I did think that the characters were pretty well drawn, although two of them – Prudie and Bernadette – seemed slightly set apart from the other four, this possibly being because the other four had connections between them that excluded Prudie and Bernadette (this may also explain why these two characters were my least favourites).

It’s a very charming book, if slightly predictable. Not entirely predictable however – the resolutions of Sylvia’s and Allegra’s stories were not what I had expected (or at least in Sylvia’s case, it would have been unexpected, but I knew what happened, only because I had seen the film). However, as each chapter is devoted mainly to one character (that being whoever is hosting the book club that month), it almost feels like a series of separate short stories which relate to each other through shared characters.

I wouldn’t say that you need to like, or even to have read any Austen novels to enjoy this book, as in truth, only small parts of the books are devoted to the actual book club meetings – in fact, you could probably have written this book about any author’s works (Karen Joy Fowler is clearly a big Austen fan, as she notes in her acknowledgements) – but I do think it helps, as I found myself nodding along with the assessments of certain Austen characters. I enjoyed it a lot, but on balance, I’m not sure I would read it again, while I would certainly watch the film adaptation again. ( )
1 vote Ruth72 | Dec 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Joy Fowlerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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-moved California grass.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:30 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

"In California's Sacramento Valley, six people meet once a month to discuss Jane Austen's novels... Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and under the guiding eye of Jane Austen, some of them even fall in love." -- Back cover.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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