I’m a big Jane Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice is my favorite of her works. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a modern-day retelling of this classic story that stays pretty faithful to the spirit of the original.
Elizabeth Bennet is here re-imagined as a writer for a women’s magazine. She is 38 and living in New York City. She and her elder sister, Jane, unexpectedly return to Cincinnati after their father has a heart attack. They find their family and their childhood home in disarray and are convinced to stay for several months to care for their recuperating father while their mother arranges a society event.
The familiar characters are all here and the characterization stays very consistent to the source material. Here, Darcy is an aloof neurosurgeon and Bingley an ER physician who has done a stint on a reality dating show. Elizabeth’s youngest sisters are as uncouth as ever; the middle sister Mary as prickly and unsociable as she ever was. Charlotte’s unmarriageable flaw here becomes weight rather than age. Mrs. Bennet is as self-absorbed as a reader could wish. Mr. Collins has become step-cousin Willie, a socially awkward tech genius who has made a fortune in several start-up companies. He doesn’t stand to inherit the Bennet fortune, but due to financial mismanagement there is no estate to entail in the first place. Mr. Wickham is now Jasper Wick- the one character that I don’t think translated very seamlessly because here he is entirely lacking in charm. The main character alteration comes in the form of Kathy DeBourgh, who here is a feminist that Elizabeth looks up to as an inspiration.
I enjoyed this book, partly because I adore the original but also because Sittenfeld has a way of making this update of Pride and Prejudice feel both modern and true to the spirit of Austen’s most famous work.
Thor: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron (and illustrated by Russell Dauterman and Jorge Molina) is an imagining of Thor as a woman warrior. The book opens with Thor newly unworthy of his hammer, Mjolnir. A new warrior arrives to claim the fabled weapon but she is unknown to any of the heroes or villains of the story thus far. The new Thor has to battle not only enemies of Earth and Asgard but the former God of Thunder himself. The story is fast-paced, the illustrations both bold and tight. The identity of the new Thor remains a mystery at the end of this volume but the story is compelling enough to hook readers both new and old in to picking up the next volume in the series.