Sunday, April 17

Book Review: Northanger Abbey

Title: Northanger Abbey

Author: Jane Austen

Pages: 241

Summary: Northanger Abbey is a perfectly aimed literary parody that is also a wither satire of the commercial aspects of marriage among the English gentry at the turn of the nineteenth century But most of all, it is the story of the initiation into life of its na├»ve but sweetly appealing heroine, Catherine Moreland, a willing victim of the contemporary craze for Gothic literature who is determined to see herself as the heroine of a dark and thrilling romance. When she is invited to Northanger Abbey, the grand though forbidding ancestral seat of her suitor, Henry Tilney, she finds herself embroiled in a real drama of misapprehension, mistreatment, and mortification, until common sense and humor - and a crucial clarification of Catherine’s financial status - resolve her problems and win her the approval of Henry’s formidable father. Written in 1708, but not published until after Austen’s death in 1817, Northanger Abbey is characteristically clearheaded and strong and infinitely subtle in its comedy.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: As always, Jane Austen’s writing is wonderful and elegant. The words flow off the pages, and I’m lured into her narrative. The story it self was also well done and shorter than her other works, if you haven’t read anything by her yet, I suggest starting here. I found this book to be a quicker read than her previous works and the story moved along a lot quicker than her other works I’ve read (or attempted to read, I’ll get through Mansfield Park one day!).

Catherine is an interesting character, and I enjoyed her love for the gothic literature, and was amused by her quest to find her own gothic adventure. This book also has an interesting take on the social class of the time the differences between them. It was a little more obvious than her other books (at least as far as I can remember). My one issue is, although Catherine had an interesting personality, her and the other characters didn’t strike me. They all had the same similar Austen qualities you find in all her books. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a repetitive theme I find throughout her books. This one’s pace moved along a lot faster, but I did feel there was suppose to be more to this story, that was never finished.

Overall, I enjoyed it, I love reading just Austen’s words, they alone always make for a good book, and I did find my self routing for the love affair between the characters to bloom.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes. This was well done, and compared to her other works, a lot easier to read - it doesn’t have a lot of slow parts, and is short for an Austen novel. A great choice for any classic fan.

What to read next: Since it mentioned it so much throughout the book, Ann Radcliffe would be a good start. Also, more Jane Austen if you enjoy her work.

10 comments:

  1. I love Northanger Abbey as a satire though I was never able to believe in the romance- I thought Henry would grow bored of Catherine. She wasn't quick-witted enough for him, in my opinion.

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  2. Aarti - It is an interesting Satire - shows Austen's range of writing. You make an interesting point on their relationship, but I still think they complement each other - I do find in generally many of the relationships and romances in these books are hard to believe, they go to a few dances, have a couple of dinners, and volia, they're in love and married, I guess it's a time period thing.

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  3. I enjoyed this book, too. Your point about the supporting characters sounding like other Austen characters brought to mind what I noticed when I started reading Emma last week, that there are an Isabella and a John in that book, too, and mentioned together.

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  4. I read this as a teen and really need to revisit it. I agree on it being more approachable. Given that it's Austens first written novel maybe the characters feel cardboard because she was trying to get the feel for writing? I should reread soon.

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  5. Anna - She did seem to reuses the same types of characters in her book. But, she is still a fantastic writer. I'm looking forward to Emma.

    Rebecca - That could be why, she still didn't have a handle on her characters. I've been wanting to revisit Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion myself.

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  6. Must be an enjoyable read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it.

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  7. I did like your review, it was spot on, but I didn't think it a great story. It was a bit choppy (because of the author narrative the popped up from time to time) and she glossed over items that might have been an interesting part of the story. Almost as if she was giving gossip, a kind of "oh by the way, this was resolved because this happened.." as part of her narrative as the author. It fell somewhere around a 5/10 for me. It was OK and I'm a big Jane Austin fan, so this was a tough read for me. It was a bit disappointing.

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    1. It is definitely not Austen's strongest works. I'm trying to think back to see if I can remember some of the points you're trying to make. Interesting perspectives. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. This is actually the first book I read by Jane Austen, and now I'm doubtful to read her other works. I don't know. I think that this book lacks conflict. It's just about Catherine going around attending balls and such. Personally, it's a boring book -- and that's coming from someone who is fond of reading classics.

    Though I didn't know that it was a literary parody; I just judged it as a story, and not considering its influence in the time it has been written.

    I enjoyed this post. And I also wrote a review of this book here: here.

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