Sunday, April 14, 2013

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

"A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art."

Um, so, I don't really know how much of a Jane Austen girl I am. I mean, it was short, so there's that, but it wasn't exactly overly thrilling. I think the only way I could describe the style is by saying that the writing's just like any other book, but elevated to the consistency of syrup. The sentences can literally go on for four or five lines and are a veritable maze of colons, semicolons, and commas. I had to read some stuff three times. And, honestly, the story was pretty normal. I suppose it might have been seen as "thrilling" and "satirical" in her time, but that was bland-ified (I don't even care that that's not a word) over time. And it moved very slowly in the beginning. I was almost two-thirds into the book before Northanger Abbey was even mentioned. So, it was fine. I got through it, and was maybe interested by a couple bits here and there. If you're the kind of person who likes classics, go right ahead. You might enjoy this one; it was really just a normal book that happened to use thicker language. It wasn't completely enjoyable for me, but you never know. It's at Kettleson.

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