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Friday, September 28, 2007

Book Review: Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Read for the R.I.P. II reading challenge.

I first read this book around 15 years ago, just after finishing Pride and Prejudice for my 10th grade English class. I’d actually tried to read Sense and Sensibility first, and loathed it so much I didn’t get past the second chapter. I remember reading this book, and thinking it ok, but nothing I’d necessarily be dying to read again (whereas I reread P&P nearly every year). It was my last foray into Jane Austen for a number of years.

It wasn’t until later in college that I tried to read any of her other books, and at that time, I tried Sense and Sensibility again, and actually liked it. I think I’d needed an older point of view to fully appreciate the rest of her body of work. I can definitely say I could appreciate Northanger Abbey a lot more on this second go. It’s still not one of my favorites (that belongs to P&P and Persuasion), but it was an enjoyable light read, and poked plenty of fun at the follies of Austen’s age, which I can’t help but think aren’t that different than the follies of today.

Of course, I read this for a gothic and horror themed challenge, and the gothic horror part of this book is confined to the very end, when our heroine Catherine visits Northanger Abbey, the ancestral home of our hero, Henry. Any frights found there are merely in Catherine’s imagination, and serve to make her a better person for realizing what a fool she was to believe in them. So really, sort of a failure on the scary end, but it was a nice two-day contrast between Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and the Gormenghast novels, which I’ll be starting shortly.

8 comments:

Eva said...

I love Tilney! Such a gentleman. :) And his sister was just lovely.

Megan said...

I definitely agree. A wonderful contrast to the Thorpes :)

Court said...

I think it's definitely time for me to reread Northanger Abbey as I'm having a hard time remembering exactly what happens in it...

In regards to your comment about the follies of Austen's age - it's always interesting to see how little has changed from Austen's day to ours, isn't it?

Megan said...

Interesting, and oddly comforting.

Nicola said...

I really need to read Northanger Abbey someday!

Rybu said...

I also read this expecting more "Gothic horror". The second I thought it was about to get interesting and an ounce of suspense was mounting, the suspense was stopped. Similar was the end when the story seemed to end to swiftly. Again I see here that everyone seems to love Pride and Prejudice. I need to read that as I thought Austen's style was conversational and easy to follow.

Megan said...

She really does have a wonderfully conversational style that's held up very well over time.

LK said...

I had pretty much the same reaction!