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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Northanger Abbey

by Jane Austen
audiobook: 7.5 hours
narrated by Nadia May

*** About the Book ***

Since I'm still trying to get caught up on my stack of unreviewed books, I'm cheating and copying this summary from my library's website:

Northanger Abbey (Unabr)Jane Austen’s first major novel, a parody of the popular literature of the time, is an ironic tale of the romantic folly of men and women in pursuit of love, marriage, and money. The humorous adventures of young Catherine as she encounters "the difficulties and dangers of a six weeks' residence in Bath" lead to some of Austen's most brilliant social satire. There is Catherine’s hilarious liaison with a paragon of bad manners and boastfulness; her disastrous friendship with an unforgettably crass coquette; and a whirl of cotillion dances with their timeless mortifications. A visit to ancient Northanger Abbey, the ancestral home of the novel’s handsome hero, excites the irrepressible Catherine’s hopes of romance amid gothic horrors. But what awaits her there is a drama of a different kind, in this most youthfully exuberant and broadly comic of Jane Austen’s works.

*** My Thoughts ***

Although I'd seen the movie version before, this was my first experience with the book.  I was surprised to find much more "conversation" between Austen and her readers than in her other books.  She wrote this story as if she were telling it to a friend, occasionally making comments directly to the reader.  I really enjoyed that!

The love story isn't quite as developed in this book as in her other novels.  Though I enjoyed the characters and the setting, I didn't love it as much as her other books and I didn't get swept away by the restrained passion of the main characters as I did in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  That said, I do love Mr. Tilney.  His sense of humor was superb and I really enjoyed getting to know him.  He's definitely the type of guy I would have been attracted to.

I was surprised to see how little time was actually spent at Northanger Abbey!  You'd think that with the book using that as the title, there would be more focus on it.  Not that it really mattered, it just surprised me.

Nadia May did a wonderful job as narrator again.  I highly recommend her versions of Austen's books - she has the perfect voice for them.

It was a pleasure to listen to this book and I had a lot of fun with it. 

*** Your Thoughts ***

Which Austen novel is your favorite? Which Austen man is your favorite? My favorite book is still PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - I love the humor and the miscommunication and the characters and everything else.  As for the men, I'll always love Darcy in the book but I don't know that I'd have been able to overlook his arrogance and actually fall in love with him in real life.  Mr. Tilney is a strong contender at this point but I still have one or two other Austen books to read ...


Monica said...

I love Northanger Abbey. Mr. Tilney is my favorite Austen hero. I am glad you liked him too.

Rebecca :) said...

I've only read P&P and Persuasion so far, but P&P is my favorite. I will have to look for Nadia May's version in my library for this one.

Heather J. said...

Monica - Your recent post about Mr. Tilney was what make me choose this one to listen to now - I had to see what all the fuss was about! :)

Rebecca :) - Nadia May does an excellent job - you'll love her narration.

Amanda said...

This is the only book of her main 6 novels that I haven't read, and I might one day because I did really enjoy the movie.

Trisha said...

Pride and Prejudice is literally the only audio book I ever made it through, so maybe I should give Northanger Abbey a try on audio. From what I remember it's rather short too which in my opinion is a plus for audio books.

Avid Reader said...

I've read all of Austen's books and Persuasion is my favorite. I am a sucker for Darcy though.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Thanks for sharing an interesting review. My absolute favourite Jane Austen is Emma - i just loe the title character even though she is sometimes awful - she is very human.


Andi said...

I have this one on my stacks (par for the course), but I've only read Pride and Prejudice and Emma at this point. I loved both, and both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley are dreamy. I have to say, as much as I love Darcy, I've had a crush on Knightley much longer. Since the Jeremy Northam/Gwyneth Paltrow adaptation. So much fun!

Beth F said...

I've listen to a few Austen but not this one. Now I'm hankering for an audio reread.

Heather J. said...

Amanda – Definitely read/listen to it – it’s worth it!

Trisha – Austen’s books translate very well to audio IMO, so you might be able to enjoy all of them that way. 

Avid Reader – Aah yes, Darcy … gotta love him! I really enjoyed Persuasion as well though.

Hannah Stoneham – Emma is one of the two that I haven’t gotten to yet – I’m really looking forward to it!

Andi - I don’t think I saw that movie version, or if I did, I don’t remember it … must check that out at some point …

Beth F – I’m really enjoying the Austen books on audio – I haven’t had any complaints at all yet!

Alyce said...

I have to read this one sometime soon - maybe I'll work it into my challenges for next year. I've had it on my shelf for a ridiculous amount of time (at least a decade) and haven't read it yet.

Heather J. said...

Alyce - It's BOUND to fit at least one challenge! Plus it's fun to read, so definitely try to fit it in. :)

Oregon Kimm said...

Northanger Abbey is my least favorite of Austen's work. I think the gothic theme turned me off, but I cannot really pinpoint it.

Persuasion is my favorite read. I love Captain Wentworth. Although Mr. Knightley from Emma is a close runner up for my heart.

Heather J. said...

Oregon Kimm - I think many people would agree with you about this book but as you can see, I really enjoyed it. :) Persuasion was really good too though. Emma is still on my TBR list (I've seen the movie though) so I can't say for sure about Mr. Knightley.

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