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*****= An all-time favorite
***Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen
by Fay Weldon
Reviewed December 6, 2003.
Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 1999 (First published in 1984). 155 pages.
Out of print, but with limited availability on Amazon.com.
Here is a novel written in the form of letters from a literary Aunt Fay to her niece, Alice, who is studying English literature and hopes to be a writer herself. Alice doesn’t see the point of studying Jane Austen and finds her books boring, petty and irrelevant.
Aunt Fay makes a spirited defense of the value of Jane Austen’s works. In the process, she presents many facts about Jane Austen’s life and gives a wonderful introduction to most of her books, telling the circumstances in which they were written. Along the way, she also discusses the value of literature, the writing process and the life of a writer.
This book has a fictional framework, but the meat of it consists of nonfiction essays on literature and writing and Jane Austen. Fans of any of those things will find it diverting, entertaining, and instructive.
Reviews of books by Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice
Reviews of books related to Jane Austen:
Flirting with Pride and Prejudice, edited by Jennifer Crusie
A Jane Austen Education, by William Deresiewicz
Sense and Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope
Northanger Abbey, by Val McDermid
Emma, by Alexander McCall Smith
An Assembly Such As This: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 1, by Pamela Aidan
Duty and Desire: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 2, by Pamela Aidan
These Three Remain: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Book 3, by Pamela Aidan
Austenland, by Shannon Hale
Midnight in Austenland, by Shannnon Hale
Jane Austen in Scarsdale, by Paula Marantz Cohen
Jane and the Man of the Cloth, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Wandering Eye, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Prisoner of Wool House, by Stephanie Barron
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley, by Stephanie Barron
Death Comes to Pemberley, by P. D. James
Pride and Prescience, by Carrie A. Bebris
Suspense and Sensibility, by Carrie A. Bebris
North by Northanger, by Carrie A. Bebris
The Jane Austen Book Club, by Karen Joy Fowler
For Darkness Shows the Stars, by Diana Peterfreund
The Stars We Steal, by Alexa Donne
Keeping the Castle, by Patrice Kindl
Pride, by Ibi Zoboi
First Impressions, by Marilyn Sachs
Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund. All