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Readable but doesn't quite work
on 27 September 2014
I'm generally not a fan of modern day attempts to 'update' classical novels or write sequels, and having read this my stance hasn't changed. I would advise anyone who is a huge Austen fan who loves this particular novel to steer clear. I'm more of a Bronte fan myself and I know how I would feel about reading a modern day version of 'Jane Eyre' or 'Wuthering Heights' (hopefully something no-one will attempt).
There are some quite interesting moments, but overall it just doesn't work for me. As others have mentioned Jane Austen's work is firmly rooted in the society she lived in, where women's roles were heavily restricted by traditional expectations and much of this just doesn't translate to modern times, despite the references to iphones/facebook etc. Some aspects such as the Dashwood's dependence on the patronage of rich relatives and Edward's engagement to Lucy just don't make any sense in a modern context. I would also suggest that Trollope is pretty out of touch with the lives of the average 21st century Briton if she thinks that £1500 a month is less than the minimum wage or that 200K is an insignificant inheritance (personally I would consider it life changing).
Some interesting moments but if this kind of project must be undertaken it needs to be done with some boldness - this just feels like a mostly unsuccessful attempt to update a well loved classic, by adding some contemporary references. Rather like a identical remake of a classic film where you just think - why did they bother?
Well it passed the time but just left me feeling that I'd rather re-read the original or a decent new novel by Trollope. I can't help feeling she's running out of ideas ...