trying to see the world with my ears
...because so many of us keep reading them. I doubt I would be seen in public with this book, let alone admit how much I enjoyed it, but read (or listen) to Austen spin-offs I do, and Audible is, well, anonymous and filled wih other P&P compulsives.
This Darcy tumbles with maid servants, actually supervises work at Pemberly, carouses with former Cambridge classmate Lord Byron, and can be inconvenienced by too tight britches; however, he still is not as villianous as much of the male gentry of his day. He is, of course, set back on course by "a fine pair of brown eyes." While this version of Darcy is not a monk, his antics aren't, thankfully, detailed for us. Such attempts only stain the cult of P&P, and from these I abstain in memory of Austen's brave example of NOT cashing in on fallen women as was routine in novels of her time.
As P&P re-tellings go, this is good: more detailed than the similar novel "Darcy's Story;" not as humourous (but much better narrated) than the Pamela Aidan Darcy trilogy; not as smutty as others that go on to imagine the married life of the Darcys.
Also this Darcy hints of the broader world: the Regency, PM Percival, war with France, industrialization, etc. It details a bit more of servant life. Georgina is imagined in more detail, and even Mr Hurst has some character (though not a very good one).
The narrator affects a haughty upper crust tone which might not be to everyone's ear, so listen carefully to the sample.
Face it, if you're reading this review and you've read other Darcy novels, you want to read the present one anyway. If you haven't read any of the others, this is as good as any to start. You don't need to have memorized P&P to enjoy the novel, but it helps.
I'm still waiting for a P&P re-told entirely from the servants' perspective; either that or a self-help book for compulsive P&P readers.
I would never download or buy a Heyer novel because of the cartoon covers, but thinking that so many Audible listeners can't be wrong, I tried this Heyer when I really needed a diversion. While it's no literary masterpiece, it's a rare find-- a pleasant escape from 21st century life that satisfied my inner teeny-bopper without insulting my ears with the bad prose, poor pacing, violence, sex, or melodramatic bodice ripping of most historical fiction. I have no idea how authentic is the Regency slang Heyer's heroes spout, but the word play is very amusing. I've already downloaded a second Heyer novel to break out during my next life crisis.
I agree with the listener who points out that the narrator's voice is a bit too much of "a certain age" for the main characters, but I think her excellent reading compensated for that - at least to my ears of a certain age.
...you might like this bizarre tale of family, community, hierarchy, missionaries, twins separated at birth, and transexual serial murder in India. Unlike Q+A's Vikras Swarup, Irving isn't Indian, but he avoids cultural appropriation (I think--I'm not Indian) by stating upfront in the intro that he doesn't know India well, thanking a host of South East Asian artists for their help, and creating an ex-pat main character who is alientated from his birth country but not assimilated into the West.
I found the novel humourous and tremendously entertaining, but it's not for everyone: Know that there are multiple quirkly characters weaving through several intersecting storylines highly dependent upon coincidence, like a modern day tale from Trollope or Dickens with a twist of PG Wodehouse's mania, all held together by excellent narration.
Irving asks, in a postcolonial global village, "where are you from?" rather than the usual, "who are you?", and the only viable attitude he offers to complexities of human nature is that of a child's wonderment at a circus, despite the probability that the acts are based on cruelty to participants. The opposite of such wonder is fundamentalism. Many characters are shackled by fate, but a few escape predictable ends through human imagination or altruism.
Irving presents an unflattering but loving portrait of Bombay/Mumbai in the late 80s, before the terrorist bombings of 1993 and economic boom of 2000s. I'm not sure how an inhabitant would respond to the outsider's view. Also I'm not sure how a transexual might react to some of the characters. Some also might be put off by the novel's use of "cripple"/"crippled" to describe what we refer to now as disability, but all the charaters are "crippled," if not physically than emotionally or socially.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Neither the cover nor the title of Me Before You give any real hint of the story within, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what a simply great story it is. Jojo Moyes tells the story of Will Traynor, wheelchair-bound quadriplegic, and Louisa Clark, his hired care assistant, two polar opposites who would not have met under ordinary circumstances. Will is a successful financier from an upper-class family, a man who lived a "large life", but after the accident that made him a quadriplegic, his chilly magistrate mother hires Louisa to help care for Will. Louisa is an average, unintellectual girl, part of a close-knit, working class family that desperately needs the income from her job. She initially thinks she is in far over her head, but the family's financial situation leaves Louisa no choice. After some false starts, Will and Lou forge an interesting relationship, one where they both seem to get something that they very much need.
I won't recount any more plot details because this is the point where the book really starts to get interesting. The premise of Me Before You sounded very interesting to me, but I initially resisted reading it because I was afraid it would be a chick-lit romance (not my favorite). Me Before You is so much more and well worth reading.