The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

  Chris  Review by: Chris

Title:  The Jane Austen Book Club

Author:  Karen Joy Fowler

Collection:  Adult Fiction

My wife got this book for Christmas one year, and shortly thereafter, I became acquainted with the author.  We lived in the same university town in California, and she led a book discussion group at the independent book store where I worked part-time.  After speaking with her on more than one occasion, my curiosity got the better of me, and I gave the book a try.  It’s about five women and one man who meet periodically to discuss the works of Jane Austen.  These are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but each of them has a private pain and all of them are mixed up about love.  Together they form the “Central Valley/River City all-Jane-Austen-all-the-time book club.”  Each chapter of Fowler’s book focuses on a different character and a corollary discussion of one of Austen’s texts.  While it helps to be a Jane Austen fan to get the full extent of the comparisons she suggests, it isn’t a requirement.  Anyone who enjoys well-drawn characters with real-world problems should check it out.  If you like it, you might also want to see the movie version, available from the LaVale branch of the Allegany County Library System.  It is a decent, if slow-paced, film, but it lacks much of the clever parallels with Austen’s works that give the book added dimension.


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