Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Jane Austen Book Club

by Karen Joy Fowler

This is the third book I've read with my new book club. We got together tonight to talk about The Jane Austen Book Club. Five of us showed up for discussion. The usual bistro where we meet was closed for the evening, so we walked down the street a few blocks to find a small pizza joint. We all enjoyed the discussion about the book rather than the book itself.

Synopsis - There are six members (5 women and 1 man) of their book club and they've decided to read each of Jane Austen's six books. Most of the members have already read Austen, it's like they have an obsession with her. This book is mostly about the book club meetings and getting to know the members of the club, how they met, and how they perceive Austen's writing. Over the six months of their meetings, marriages are tested, relationships begin and end and begin again, and each finds love.

Only one person in our book club has read a novel by Jane Austen. We thought their were too many characters named, especially from the Austen books, and made it hard to follow. At times, it was confusing as to who was narrating. In our discussion, we talked about general life complexities (confrontations, happiness, unhappiness, and genealogies) and tried to dissect the characters a little more.

One passage I shared with the group that struck me as interesting:

"When I was driving to the hospital, I thought if Allegra (her daughter) was all right I would be the happiest woman in the world. And she was, and I was. But today the sink is backed up and there are roaches in the garage and I don't have the time to deal with any of it. The newspaper is filled with misery and war. Already I have to remind myself to be happy. And you know, if it were the other way, if something had happened to Allegra, I wouldn't have to remind myself to be unhappy. I'd be unhappy the rest of my life. Why should unhappiness be so much more powerful that happiness?" (Sylvia)
"One difficult member spoils a whole group, one disappointment ruins a whole day." (Jocelyn)
"One infidelity wipes out year of faithfulness." (Sylvia)
"It takes ten weeks to get into shape and ten days to get out of it." (Jocelyn)
"That's my point. We don't stand a chance." (Sylvia)

Are you unhappy? Do you have to remind yourself to be happy? I definitely find myself falling into this trap.

**I realize the 4 people who read this blog are probably in shock. Yes, there really are 3 posts for today, even a long one!


Rachel said...

Good thoughts. Also, I wonder why you included the author's middle name as well.

joybird said...

it was on the book cover! really, it was. It is a nice middle name. ;-)

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