Tuesday, 12 February 2013

PERSUASION by Jane Austen

What can one possibly say about this book? It's as close to perfect as you can come without burning your fingers.

This is probably the fifth or sixth time I've read it, and it's still charming, and soothing, and somehow rather encouraging. It tells the story of one Anne Elliot, who in her youth was convinced that she should not marry the man she loved, because he was so very poor. As an older woman (like late 20s, but that was old in the early 1800s) she meets him again, and somehow they get back together.

Morons, usually men, think Austen writes romances. I think she writes books about how to live. It's nice that she gets her man, but what is really moving about this book is the courage and elegance with which she lives out her bad choices before he comes back. And this is where Austen is comforting, and even inspiring, for we may or may not get our man, but we will all most certainly make bad choices and have to live with them.

Commenting on this novel reminds me of my friend, a young playwright, who was sitting next to an elderly man at a play by Arthur Miller. During intermission he was flipping through the program, and seeing a rehearsal photo, realised the elderly man was ACTUALLY ARTHUR MILLER. So when my friend told me this story, I was like: OMG! Did you talk to him? What did you say? And my friend was like: I didn't say anything! What could I say? Nice work on DEATH OF A SALESMAN? I enjoyed THE CRUCIBLE? He's bloody ARTHUR MILLER. And my awkward friend, who spent the entire second act gazing out of the corner of his eye at ARTHUR MILLER, reminds me of me, trying to blog about bloody JANE AUSTEN.

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