This was my last Austin book to listen to and I think it was the most disappointing. I love, love, love Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. The character dialogue was long and at times tedious. For the first 3/4 of the book, Emma is not very likable. I realize that was Austin's intent but between that and the long conversations that bordered on boring I do not think I will ever want to re-listen to this book. I found myself zoning out while driving and having to back up the book to find where I stopped listening.
Like most people I have seen the movie. I am generally one of those people who always like the book better. In this case, not so much.
No...out of all of Austin's novels, this is my least favorite.
I have read a couple of her other books and generally like her. This book is no different.
You might have caught her performance in the film adaptation as Mr.Elton's ridiculous wife. But, her character work on each of Emma's characters is so wonderful, so easy to listen to, so natural. I've listened to her readings of Austen many times over. This is the standard for any reading of Jane Austen's work. Love it love it love it.
My favorite thing about this book was the character development. Emma was a truly dynamic character without losing the essence of who she was at the core. She was flawed, yet relatable and likeable. I loved the way she changed throughout the book and came to grow as a person and as a friend. There were times in the beginning of the book when her actions made her difficult to take, but Jane Austen's writing of her was masterful in its ability to starkly present her flaws while painting a very human picture of her. While ingrained elitism and a sharp tongue are integral to Emma's character, so is her desire to help others (misguided and presumptuous as her attempts often may be), her kindness and care for her father and friends, her distaste for her own mistakes (and later her ability to acknowledge them), and her desire to make her wrongs right.
I especially loved the dynamic of her relationship with Mr. Knightley and the way their interactions helped to shape Emma's growth and help her see new points of view and acknowledge her mistakes in a perfectly balanced way. Mr. Knightley was neither too gentle nor too forceful in his influence; the changes he was able to inspire in Emma were born out of honesty, truth, and the desire to help her be the best person she could be. It was refreshing to see personal growth explored within the context of a relationship without the angle of manipulation, or change for another's personal benefit added, as is popular within modern literature and media. Emma was an independent and strong-minded character, and she was allowed to remain as such - without believing that she was truly perfect.
Juliet Stevenson was a fantastic narrator and perfectly portrayed the essence of each character. She brought a liveliness and humor to the experience that made the characters come alive.
Juliet Stephenson is a wonderful actress, and she brings each character to life, distinctly and with great charm. Even the odious Emma is made tolerable by her acting. She is far and away my favorite performer of the Austen novels.
Story: Much the same as the other two crown jewels of her works but still very good. As always, a must read for a liberal education and to experience the life in England in the late 18th century.
Michelle my Belle
Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Jane Austen novel. It's hard for me to enjoy Emma's silliness or her rudeness. I found myself anxious for the story to end. Thank goodness for Juliet Stevenson's performance.
No; the narrator chooses to make Emma snide and Mr. Knightly bitterly angry, thus rewriting their relationship.
The Flo Gibson version is satisfactory.
Thoreau's 'Walden' and Ayn Rand's 25th anniversary introduction to 'The Fountainhead' summarize my library well.
I decided to give Jane Austen a try. As it turned out: this type of story does not appeal to me, but I'm glad I read it.
- The relationships of the characters and their dialogue are super tight. That's enjoyable.
- As I was more curious about the author/genre than the book itself, I wish I had actually read the spoilers for this book in advance so that I could pick up on Austen's ironies, anticlimaxes and foreshadows as I went.
- Oh, the English and the names for their properties! City? Someone's house? It was tough for me to keep track.
- I would not have been able to finish this title without Stevenson. Her narration was superb and wildly entertaining. (Loved her portrayal of Augusta Elton--so nasty!)
I look for fiction that gives me ground for deep introspection or similar emotional impact--Emma doesn't do this for me. My parting thought after this book was simply: "wow, that was really well-written fiction." I have a better appreciation for the book now that I've finished it.
Juliet Stevenson did an amazing job with this tale. The story is a classic but not a good one for those unconcerned with the daily trails of upper society in England. However it is a great story of the schemes of love and life.