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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ice and Austen

Those are last week’s icicles. All day today, driving to Traverse City, waiting in the surgical center waiting room while David had a cataract removed, then again driving home in the late afternoon, I was conscious of the sunlight, dark clouds, revealed expanse or glimpses of blue sky, play of light and shadow. The rich last light on the shore of Grand Traverse Bay was golden, with Old Mission peninsula cloud-dappled, and the water between the two land masses rippled like a sheet of silk. As designated driver, however, I didn’t feel it was my role to leave the “patient” cooling his heels in the car while I poked around taking pictures.

To revisit and wrap up what I started in yesterday’s posting:

THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB (hereafter JABC)) is more complex than my posting of the other day implied. At various times through the book, one sees reflections of Austen’s different novels, characters and situations. Once the first of these is glimpsed, the reader (okay, you know—this reader) is on the alert for more. It’s like the game of looking at a complicated drawing and finding, besides the obvious picture, “hidden” objects, right there on the page but turned on their sides or upside-down, incorporated so craftily into the obvious as to be almost invisible. Once you begin to see what’s “hidden,” you see more and more.

The novel does have a narrative of its own. Will Sylvia’s husband ask for a divorce? Will Allegra return to her lover? And what on earth is Grigg’s story? (His, for me, was the most unexpected.) These questions, along with the game of finding Austen parallels, kept me going until the end last night.

I had only two complaints. (Decide for yourself how serious they are.) One was the number of small editing glitches (I resisted going for the pencil!), and the other was the synopses of Austen’s plots at the end of the book, which reduced the stories to farce. I did however, enjoy the book, and since I love PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, and PERSUASION unreservedly (and enjoy Austen’s other novels with a few reservations), I guess I’m recommending JABC. Those who haven’t read Austen would probably still enjoy JABC for its own characters and stories, though they’d miss all the fun of the allusions and parallels.

5 comments:

z said...

Let me see here. You were concerned that "the patient" could be impatient and therefore elected to forego your usual photographic inclinations. Hmmm - that would suggest that the potentially impatient patient was feeling well enough to have the potential to be an impatient patient. Therefore, I'm glad to be able to assume that all is well with the patient, as well as his personal provider of care. Good luck to the patient for continued healing and best wishes for continued patience to the patient’s provider.

P. J. Grath said...

Now I feel bad to have given the impression that D. would have been impatient. No, he was tired and groggy, but my greater concern was that he hadn't had a meal since dinner yesterday--no breakfast, no lunch, nothing but a measly crackers and juice in recovery--and he was ravenously hungry. Always a good sign, right? So we hurried home to a hearty meal, and all is well with both of us, thank you!

Laurie said...

Your picture today shows me it was a more wintry day in the peninsula than here in Kalamazoo, where it was so mild I did small errands without a jacket. But the peninsular sights were clearly more dramatic!

I'm basically just rambling on so I can test whether it's easier to post a comment now. Love, L.

Laurie said...

And it is! Hooray! L.

P. J. Grath said...

Ah, but Laurie, the picture was from last week, as I didn't have a chance to make one for this post. I'm hoping to get a fresh view for Thursday, but Wednesday was actually lots of bare, soggy ground in the orchards, quilt of snow patches in the woods, dirty piles of snow in TC. It was the kind of look I call (this time of year) faux spring--or faux printemps, if you prefer.

glad to have you back!