Jane Austen, is timeless and I find her books quite interesting as well as entertaining. So it was a pleasure to read and review a retelling of her classic Pride and Prejudice for Harper Collins India. I must say it was an immersive read. Read on to for more details…
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Publisher: The Borough Press (Harper Collins Imprint)
Published: May 2016
Format reviewed: Paperback
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.
Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .
Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
Professions of the sisters ( to keep it simple): Yoga Instructor, Magazine writer, Student, Make up artist and fitness freaks.
A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, set in the modern, 2013 Cincinnati, USA backdrop. To start off I would like to point out that be it Jane Austen era or modern 2013, Pride & Prejudice in society and families is very much alive and kicking. Where there is family, 5 daughters and their various suitors, in a social setting there is bound to be entertainment and inevitable drama. That is exactly what I got in Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern Eligible.
The sisters as expected were poles apart and they did not disappoint. Their modern versions had apt professions and outlooks and inserting a transgender character in such a setting was a risk that paid off and fit in well with the story. The mother is as cringe inducing as she is prejudiced and Mr. Bennet is just refreshing with his nonchalant attitude.
Family dynamics, especially with 5 unmarried siblings will always provide for an unpredictable setting. The Bennet sisters were equally charming and unpredictable with their surroundings. Though taking from Austen’s original the ending was somewhat predictable, I was pleasantly surprised with Mary, the middle sister. It was easy accepting the age and marital status of the sisters, it added the much needed and apt touch of realism to the story.
Overall an entertaining and updated retelling of the classic Austen saga.
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Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of the novels Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, and Sisterland, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Her nonfiction has been published widely, including in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, Vanity Fair, and Glamour and broadcast on public radio’s This American Life. A native of Cincinnati, she currently lives with her family in St. Louis.
Reviewed by Bharti