Author: Jane Austen
What I think so far: Whilst not the ‘cult-classic’ that is Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion holds the advantage that the reader will enter into it with few pre-conceived notions of the book. It comes with the genre that Austen will be wordy, with sentences both convoluted and decorous – almost a little too twee at times – yet she allows the narrator to build up intriguing characters without authorial bias impinging upon this. Her protagonist, Anne Elliot, is inexpressibly modest but also wholly likeable; her naïveté crucial for building the revelations that raise the book far above the ‘morality tale’ that its resolution could have been. Although superficially a product of its time – the pursuit of love hidden behind forced civility and painstaking lamentations – there is an undertone of rebellion from Austen herself, a sense that society’s preconceptions stand on shifting ground. Thanks to its multitude of characters, the book is not the typical bedtime read. However, the book has managed to hold my interest in its quietly subversive manner with just enough of Austen’s tasteful embellishments to allow me to almost wholeheartedly agree with its critical reception.
Would I recommend?: To pre-existing fans of Austen and the Brontë sisters: yes. To those looking to get into reading classic literature: probably not. Stylistically the book can be considered a little obtuse for those not accustomed to Austen’s writing, definitely not the best representation of its genre.
Words by Beth Chaplow