Thursday, May 4, 2017

Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

I reread this in preparation for my book club’s discussion of it and after another wonderful talk by the author at the April Friends of the Library meeting.   I found it just as enjoyable the second time, as the Austin original is.  It is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and prejudice with a Midwestern flavor.   In Sittenfeld’s witty version, Darcy is a darkly handsome, taciturn, Stanford-and-Harvard-trained neurologist who has moved to Cincinnati where the novel is set.  His friend and fellow doctor is Chip Bingley, who two years previously was the bachelor on the TV show Eligible but didn’t find his soulmate among the various contenders for his heart.  The five Bennet sisters, as always, are in need of husbands.  Let the fun begin.  Again, I couldn’t put the book down once I started it but raced through as if I had no idea how it might end.  The author has captured Austen’s voice very well, with Mrs. Bennet and the long-suffering Mr. Bennet being particularly well-drawn.  Sittenfeld successfully mixes in such trendy topics as yoga instruction, crossfit training, transgenderism, shopping addiction, and reality TV into a comedy of manners and never loses the humanity and humor of the original.  485 pp.

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