The genius of Jane Austen novels is in their ability to be at once both light-hearted, coming of age romances and biting satires of social customs. Northanger Abbey, the first full-length composition from Austen, is a perfect example of this. Performed here by the captivating veteran Flo Gibson Northanger Abbey is partly the story of young Catherine and her social rise, which includes a trip to Bath and the meeting and falling for of young Henry Tilney, and partly Austen's hilarious parody of the gothic novels which had been held in such high regard during her time.
Clever young Catherine so desperately wishes to "improve" upon her life that she imagines the worst when she is invited to Northanger Abbey, the country home of the Tilney family. Her imagination gets the better of her when she begins to believe she has discovered in the Abbey all the trappings of a gothic novel. Jane Austen slyly parodies the potboiler genre and skewers the obsession with manners of the day.
(P)1989 by Recorded Books, Inc.
I've never met a Jane Austen novel I didn't love. Mark Twain has nothing on her in the realm of satire. I only wish I knew more about the period, I'm sure I would find the novels even more comical. Flo Gibson is not the narrator for Jane Austen, though. Her voice is quite gravelly. This would work nicely with quite a number of novels, but does not lend itself to the smooth tones which would seem more natural for the many young women who populate and are the main characters for Austen's novels. It was often very difficult to determine which character was being voiced, a problem I have not had with other Austen narraters.
The sound quality was not always that great, but I always enjoy Flo Gibson's narrations. I would have to say that it is my least favorite Austen book, but not horrible. It is Austen after all.
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