Nothing ever moves in a straight line in Karen Joy Fowler's fiction, and in her latest, the complex dance of modern love has never been so devious or so much fun.
Six Californians join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens. With her finely sighted eye for the frailties of human behavior and her finely tuned ear for the absurdities of social intercourse, Fowler has never been wittier nor her characters more appealing. The result is a delicious dissection of modern relationships.
Dedicated Austenites will delight in unearthing the echoes of Austen that run through the novel, but most readers will simply enjoy the vision and voice that, despite two centuries of separation, unite two great writers of brilliant social comedy.
Christian Science Monitor
I'm instinctively wary of genetic engineering, but Karen Fowler may have produced a literary equivalent of the elusive Super Tomato.
Though Fowler takes Austen as her inspiration, she clearly possesses her own unique voice and gift for storytelling.
The New York Times Book Review - Margot Livesey
What strikes one first is the voice robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected.
Time Out New York
Fowler has fashioned a deft, witty multiple-character study and closely observed comedy of romantic manners.
San Francisco Chronicle
Karen Joy Fowler deserves every success this savvy, episodic but chamois-smooth novel can bring.
The New York Times - Richard Eder
The thoughts are more than literary discussion. They bring out the characters and emotions of the participants along with the tensions and sympathies that flit and filter among them. Ms. Fowler has the genial notion to see in the book club — that newish American cultural phenomenon — a society resembling nothing so much as one of those sets of country gentry among which Austen constructed a social comedy where irony stiffens sentiment, and pain is a cool afterthought.
The New York Times Sunday Book Review - Patricia T. O'Conner
What results is Fowler's shrewdest, funniest fiction yet, a novel about how we engage with a novel. You don't have to be a student of Jane Austen to enjoy it, either. At the end are plot synopses of all six Austen novels for the benefit of the forgetful, the uninitiated or the nostalgic.
The Washington Post - Michael Dirda
It's just as hard to explain quite why The Jane Austen Book Club is so wonderful. But that it is wonderful will soon be widely recognized, indeed, a truth universally acknowledged.
Bright, engaging, dexterous literary entertainment for everyone, though with many special treats and pleasures for Janeites.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Fowler, a captivating and good-hearted satirist, exuberantly pays homage to and matches wits with Jane Austen in her most pleasurable novel to date by portraying six irresistible Californians who meet once a month to discuss Austen's six novels. Fellow Austenites will love Fowler's fluency in the great novelist's work; every reader will relish Fowler's own ebullient comedy of manners, and who knows how many book clubs will be inspired by this charming paean to books and readers.
A luxuriant pleasure!
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