Man, I have not read that much, but I am so totally done with this. Damn you, library, with your fancy displays and crap with the word Austen in the title. I am a loose and profligate library patron, because all is free for the taking, only with the possible pinch of 30c fines if I don't get this stupid shit back in three weeks. And I will get it back, Oscar, I will.
Here's where the book took air and flew: when everyone referred to Austen as a Victorian novelist.
A VICTORIAN NOVELIST.
Wrong, my friends, wrong. I do not pretend to be a deep Janeite, because I can't sustain it. I've read all six of her novels, which I guess is something, but I'm not someone who reads biographies or criticism, so I can't get into the nuances and stuff like certain Elizabeths I know. Elizabeth, never pick this book up. You will die. I am just a simple caveman, but I know, I know, that motherhugging Jane Austen wrote in the Regency period, during the goram Napoleanic War, and to shift that schmeck forward 50 years to the Victorian period...
Wait, here's some dates for you....
Napoleanic War: 1803 - 1815
Victoria's Reign: 1837 - 1901
Jane Austen's life: 1775 - 1817
So, before this book caught air in my living room, someone with a cute name was called in by her agent and ordered to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Someone had just found an opening chapter of an unfinished novel by a very important Victorian novelist
and they needed some chick-lit motherhugging hack to finish the work for some completely unknowable reason. Our cutesy protag had written some thing aping Victorian conventions, so she seemed like the best person out there to finish an Austen novel. You know, because she knows so much about the Victorian novel. Despite not wanting to, despite having never read Pride and motherfucking Prejudice
, she is ordered to write the end of an unfinished Austen novel.
I know some people who would give their godamn eyeteeth to see an unfinished Austen novel, and I would seriously consider pliers. That shit need not be finished, we just want to see, as readers, and finishing it should be a labor of love and devotion. I have a composer friend who finished Bach's unfinished Contapunctus 14 from the Art of the Fugue, and it was years of blood, sweat, and pain, during which he was very weird and single-minded at parties, and then it was done, but it was math and beauty and a struggle every minute while he was working on it. Nabokov's son struggled with releasing his father's notes toward his last work, and settling those notes into the hands of a godamn hack who does not know which historical period Nabokov was living in so the hack could finish it, that was not one of the options. (The book is called [b:The Original of Laura|6267192|The Original of Laura|Vladimir Nabokov|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320407215s/6267192.jpg|6450471], if you are curious, and I am.)
Look, maybe this isn't a good reason to abandon this book. Maybe I should lighten the fuck up. But you know what? I don't care. This book is bait for Austen nerds, and if you kick that nerdery in the face by handing us a "heroine" who supposedly is versed in the Victorian novel who doesn't even fucking know that Austen isn't a Victorian novelist by at least fucking 20 years, that's a major fail. I don't even care if she figures it out later - she is not a character who has a degree in Victorian literature, no matter how many times I'm told she is. I don't respect this character. I don't believe this character. And I don't give a shit what happens to her, unless it involves something unspeakably awful. Alas, spoiler alert, she is rewarded with love and success, so fuck her forever.
This book is lying by the post of the stairs. Tomorrow I will have to pick it up, and put it in my purse, and shuttle it to the library so'iz I don't have to pay a fine. Thank you, libraries, I love you.