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The Jane Austen book club
Karen Joy Fowler
Adult Fiction FOWLER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

With its many section breaks and point-of-view shifts, Fowler's newest book (following Sister Noon) poses significant challenges for a single narrator. But stage actress Schraf overcomes these obstacles with ease, her voice taking on just a touch of haughtiness for the chapters told from the "we" perspective and then switching back to an unassuming tone for the third-person sections. It may take listeners a short while to grasp the story's structure, but once they do, they'll be hopelessly snared by this witty look at the lives and loves of six people, all members of Central Valley, California's "all-Jane-Austen-all-the-time book club." As the members discuss Austen's stance on marriage, social status and love, the narrative meanders, touching on defining moments in the characters' lives and then drifting back to describe their current dilemmas: single, middle-aged Jocelyn has never been in love; French teacher Prudie can't stop thinking about men other than her husband; chatty Bernadette has decided to "let herself go"; warm-hearted Sylvia still loves her soon-to-be-ex-husband; emotional Allegra has left her girlfriend; and sci-fi aficionado Grigg is infatuated with someone who may not share his affection. Through subtle alterations of tone and inflection, Schraf neatly conveys the emotions and idiosyncrasies of each character, from Prudie's impossibly pretentious French asides to Bernadette's airy, endless storytelling. Playful and intelligent, this audiobook embodies the best of both the written and aural worlds. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Mar. 22). (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Fowler's book, for all intents and purposes, is a character study of six people who meet regularly over several months to discuss six of Austen's works. Jocelyn, in her 50s and never married, is the originator of the club, a control freak who handpicked all the members; Sylvia, her good friend, is in a funk because her husband of 32 years has just left her for another woman; Sylvia's daughter, Allegra, is an attractive 30-year-old lesbian who recently broke up with her lover; Prudie is a twentysomething high school French teacher; the much-married Bernadette, 67, is now single; and Grigg, in his 40s, would love to get married. The group sits around drinking and making aimless, often pointless, conversation about Austen, and into these light, roundabout discussions Fowler intertwines some clever and funny stories. There is not much depth to the characters, the plots are weak, and little happens until the last chapter. Read by Kimberly Schraf, this atypical but deliberate novel is recommended for larger public libraries.-Carol Stern, Glen Cove P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Jocelyn
Female
Age: 50s
Single
Jane Austen reading group member.
Dog breeder

Sylvia
Female
Age: 50s
Married
Jocelyn's childhood friend; Jane Austen reading group member.

Allegra
Female
Age: 30
Lesbian
Sylvia's daughter; Jane Austen reading group member.
Artist

Prudie
Female
Age: 28
High school French teacher.
Teacher

Bernadette
Female
Age: 67
Chatty.

Grigg Harris
Male
Age: 40s
Single
Only male in a Jane Austen reading group; science fiction fan.



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