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A Specifically Universal Story,
This review is from: Emma (Mass Market Paperback)How could Jane Austen have thought that the character of Emma would please no one but the author?
I was charmed to enter Emma's world, amused by her wit, stunned by her complacency, sympathetic when she made her mistakes. I finished the book with a real affection for this character, drawn so finely and so lovingly by a truly masterful writer.
I had seen the movie version starring Gywneth Paltrow before reading the book. I expected to read the entire book with Paltrow's raspy laugh and swanlike neck in mind. Yet Austen transported me away from my cinematic preconceptions. There is so much more to "Emma" than a movie can capture: the incisive social commentary, the near perfect grasp of human nature, which hasn't changed much since Austen's time, in all its ugliness and sublimity.
There has been much discussion over why Austen remains so popular with readers today. After all, her characters are geographically and socially isolated, immensely concerned with money, and (with a few exceptions) have no discernible occupations other than hunting for mates. It is hard to find similarities between these lives and those of modern Americans. What Austen does so well is to depict her particular place and time with astonishing clarity. Through Austen's (and Emma's) eyes, we see the commonalties that exist among all people, no matter the time or place.