This was a reread for me though it’s been more than a decade since my last read. Instead of going through the plot since I think most people are familiar with the bare bones of the plot, I’m just going to share a few random thoughts I had while listening to this novel.
So doing Austen as an audio book is interesting. It was obvious when reading Persuasion that Anne Elliot was the only one with any common sense and that everyone around her was a straight up drama queen with no sense of reality, but it is so much worse while listening to them. Oh my god! I am not sure if I am more aware now or if it was purely the difference between reading and hearing was so great but the satire and mocking of societal conventions is so much more obvious!
Anne’s cousin Mr. Elliot is obviously not a great guy based on his treatment of Mrs. Smith but all the other things? I’m kind of on his side: he’s being reasonable. Anne’s family is horrible, of course he wouldn’t actually want to interact with them. Anne was just as concerned about Mrs. Clay until she realized that Mr. Elliot’s fear of her father remarrying was the reason he showed up. Mr. Elliot acts on the things everyone else is thinking but is judged for them. Also, it makes sense to marry rich when you stand to inherit lands and a baronet from a man in debt. Someone is going to have pay that shit off!
Also, Mrs. Smith, Anne’s “friend,” is not great, either. She was totally going to sell Anne out and take advantage of her potential marriage to Mr. Elliot rather than warn her against him. Her excuses are bullshit! And as much as she may want to blame Mr. Elliot for being a bad friend, she and her husband weren’t forced into all that spending beyond their means – at least part of her problems are self-caused.
Captain Wentworth also comes across a bit more petty than I remembered. I know he didn’t exactly come off in a great light given his flirtation with the flighty Musgrove daughters but it seems more pointed in this one. Admittedly, I think at least part of my issue on listening to it is that Juliet Stevenson is a great narrator, but her portrayal of Captain Wentworth and only Captain Wentworth didn’t work for me. What? I want my romantic heroes to have a deep baritone and she couldn’t pull it off. Instead he sounded whiny and dramatic like the rest of them.
Overall, definitely an enjoyable experience, and listening a classic rather than reading it made it much lighter read. It was an interesting revisit, and I am no longer sure if I like Captain Wentworth as much as I used to.