Sunday, 13 January 2013

Sanditon by Jane Austen & Another Lady

I love the generosity of the writer of the continuation of Sanditon (Jane Austen's last unfinished novel) in keeping a low profile so that the story remains attributed to the original author.  Unfortunately this book isn't widely available any longer, but is definitely worth taking the effort to track down if you enjoy Jane Austen's work.  In my opinion the continuation is almost seamless, and both style of language and plot are faithful to the original.
There is a stronger humour element here than in Jane Austen's major works - more in line with Northanger Abbey's gentle mockery of the Gothic style than Pride and Prejudice's social and relational irony.  The continuation perhaps takes the humour a little further than Jane Austen would have - I almost laughed aloud towards the end of the story as the varying threads are woven together, something I have never done in a normal Austen novel.
The story follows the experiences of Charlotte, who is visiting the seaside town of Sanditon, and her encounters with the various personalities who live there or visit for the 'season'.  At first sight not the most inspiring of storylines, but the relationships between the characters is what makes this - as with most other Austen novels.
My only major criticism of the continuation is that there are several times when the writer makes use of phrases from other Austen novels - although not as often as some 'sequels' I've read.
I've been trying to discover a good continuation of The Watsons - another unfinished novel - does anyone have any suggestions?

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