viernes, 8 de marzo de 2013

Persuasion, or ¿how come I’ve never read this book before?

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I’m a Jane Austen fan (aren’t we all?), though I will admit, at first, it wasn’t easy. Reading Sense and Sensibility at 12 is probably not the best way to fall in love with her writing. I remember finding it incredibly dull and boring (this was before the movie made me change my mind, of course). But, if I can say anything about my house when I was little, it’s that it was filled with books, and I was always encouraged to read more, so, a few years later, I decided to try Emma. 
It was good, if not great. I enjoyed it, but I never fell in love with the characters. (And, no, the movie didn’t help. Ewan McGregor was kind of distracting). Pride and Prejudice, however, was another thing. "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you" and I was won. Mr Darcy jumped to the top of my fictional-characters crush list, and there he has remained to this day, despite some stiff competition. 

For the next few years I abandoned Jane Austen completely. It wasn’t until I first moved to Barcelona that I managed to get the movies for the three books I hadn’t read: Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I holed up with my roommate and watched all three of them, and we awwwwwed and smiled and generally had a good time, but neither Mansfield Park nor Northanger Abbey left me wanting to read the book.

And then came Persuasion.

I recommend the 2007 TV movie. I really do. Not only because the guy who plays Captain Wentworth is one of those you will remember for a long, long time, but also because …it’s a damn good story. And the letter at the end…the letter. OMG, the letter. I melt just thinking about it.

So, this past week, while flying home from vacation, I actually read Persuasion for the first time (yes, on my tablet). I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, and I just never found the time between all the stuff I wanted to read. And, boy, it was good that I did.

Persuasion, to me, is Jane Austen at her absolute best. It’s witty, sharp, and her characters are as engaging as they come. I never really stop to think about how stupid they’re being (despite the fact that, as with many period works, it’s hard to reconcile your forward thinking mind to what was expected of them), I just like them. And there’s not much nonsense in Persuasion, either. Characters might get derailed, might take bad advice, might be too convinced of their own importance, but they are real people, and, in the end, they end up figuring out their own path. 

I adore Elizabeth Bennett, but Anne Elliot, Anne Elliot I would want to be. 

And, if nothing else, I would love to get letters with lines like these: “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.” Or “Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.”

Such a letter was not to be soon recovered from, is Jane Austen’s next line. Ah, how right was she. Such a book is not to be soon recovered from, either. 

*I wanted to put a nice picture, maybe even a quote, but I could NOT resist Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. I mean, just LOOK at him. I rest my case. 

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