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LitPicks Book Reviews—August 2007

Theme—The Inimitable Englishwoman, then & now
This month features three very different English heroines from three different eras. Bridget, Edith, and Elizabeth—all distinct characters, but each delightful...and each very, very English.
 

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Bridget Jones's Diary
Helen Fielding, 1998
271 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2007
Quintessential "chick-lit," Bridget Jones is a romp of a read, a modern send-up of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Yet when it comes to her main character, Helen Fielding departs from her literary model—Bridget is one of literature's silliest, most hapless heroines. Elizabeth Bennett, she's not.

Aside from Bridget's self-deprecating voice, her fruitless attempts at self-improvement, her friends, her mother, her job, her boss...the great fun of this book is to find its parallel points with Austen's P & P.
 

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Hotel du Lac
Anita Brookner, 1984
184 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2007

One of Brookner’s earliest works, and some think her finest, this slender book contains some very beautiful and very funny writing.

Edith Hope, a romance novelist, who writes “under a more thrusting name” (Oh, that is so good!), finds herself exiled to a posh but sedate Swiss hotel. She has committed a serious social infraction, though we don’t learn exactly what till about three-quarters of the way through.
 

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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, 1813
~350 pp. (varies by publisher)

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
August 2007

Not long ago, I received an email from someone struggling through Pride and Prejudice. Why, she wondered, is it considered a great classic? It's wordy and dense, making it difficult to cut through the pile of verbiage to get to the meaning.

It's an excellent question!—and all the more interesting because of the vital role Jane Austen played in the development of the young novel.
 

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