|One might argue that the boring cover on my edition of this novel influenced my reading.|
Monday, August 13, 2012
Sense & Sensibility: Review
It may well be that the best of Jane Austen is behind me. I loved Persuasion--that for me is Austen's best work so far. I also thoroughly enjoyed Love & Friendship. Next in line, Northanger Abbey and Pride & Prejudice....in that order. I actively dislike Emma. And now, Sense & Sensibility....well, it's better than Emma. At least I can say that. It's obvious to me that S&S is Austen's first book--even without knowing that beforehand. (*My mistake--as Adam points out below--her first published novel.) She seems to be searching for her style and voice. She's quite good at most of the characterizations...giving us Mrs. Jennings to amuse us and Willoughby and Lucy Steele and the John Dashwoods to annoy and vex us. There are hints of her wit and stunning social commentary. But overall the story seemed to drag on so. It would have been even worse if I had actually read the whole thing--but I was helped out immensely by a sudden urge to travel to Chicago this past weekend. I stopped by the local library, picked up a CD version, and let Wanda McCaddon read to a captive audience of one for 8-9 hours. Her terrific reading of the novel and interpretation of the characters did wonders for me (and upped the star rating a bit).
Unfortunately, Edward Ferrars is one of biggest drips in romantic hero history. I'm not terribly convinced of all the virtues that Elinor finds in him. Of course, pretty much everything we're told about the man comes second-hand. We don't see him up close and personal or in conversation with Elinor (or anyone else for that matter) much. It's difficult to see him as a viable character. We get far more insight into the character of Willoughby than we do of Edward--not that Willoughby's character is one I really want to know. From what we actually see of the man, I certainly can see no reason why he might make Elinor's heart flutter. Perhaps I would understand it better if we were actually given the chance to see these two interact more (more than the stiff, formal visitations when Edward is engaged to someone else).