Opening line: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
Poor Mr Bingley didn’t know what he was getting into when he bought the house of Netherfield near the village of Meryton. This novel follows the families of his neighbours: the Bennets primarily, and the Philips and the Lucases.
Though often branded as ‘chick lit’, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is more about the social and economic conventions involved in marriage in the Regency period. I avoid a full summary partly because most of my readers have read this novel or seen the various film adaptations, and, if they haven’t, it is difficult to summarise the novel without giving away the the different misunderstandings that the novel so hinges upon.
Yes, dear readers, I have finally read a Jane Austen novel. I had refused to read the novel for so long precisely because it was branded as chick lit. I usually post the image of the cover of the edition that I read, but the library copy I read was another instance of having chick lit/romance cover, with the subtitle, ‘A classic romance’.
Why now? And why Pride and Prejudice, when it was Persuasion I promised Kelly I would read before I die? Because I am also reading Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azir Nafisi, a memoir in books. The memoir is divided into four sections, one for each author, with an emphasis on one novel in each section. The only author I hadn’t read, and had no good reason not to read, was Austen. And since Nafisi discusses Pride and Prejudice in her memoir, that is the Austen book I chose to read.
So how did I find it? It was a pleasant read that I think will improve with time. The first third was a bit slow going for me, but once the main cast of characters were introduced and the conflict came into play the novel picked up my interest. And, coincidentally, the year I finally decide to read a book by Jane Austen it is the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. The BBC has done a documentary of restaging the Netherfield Ball, and you can read the article about it here: BBC Party like it’s 1813. I look forward to watching the documentary and maybe even watching one or both of the film adaptations.