Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dancing With Mr. Darcy

Dancing With Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House. Edited by Sarah Waters Harper, 2010. 245 pgs.

This collection of stories represent the finalists in the Jane Austen Short Story Competition held by Chawton House Library.

While I enjoyed this collection, I found it not as quick of a read as the previous two collections of short stories blogged about earlier (Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Pemberley Variations).  I found a lot of the stories hard to get through and I can't quite pinpoint why.  To that end, I am annoyed at myself.  But try as I might, I simply can only think that so many of the stories were rather lackluster.  The winning entry in the contest--"Jane Austen Over the Styx" by Victoria Owens--
was by far the best one and was the gold star among them. Jane Austen finds herself in the "infernal regions" and must answer to the "court of the dead."  There she finds many of her characters quite upset with her, saying that she willfully portrayed them as "a snob, a scold or a harpy."  The sentence:  Her books will live on, but letters written to her brother Frank are to burned upon his death and thus, no one else will delight in their "wisdom and shrewdness." Again, a great twist to what really happened to Jane's letters.  Again, a bit feeling like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.  But nevertheless, too cruel a fate indeed.

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