Lady Susan by Jane Austen
In 2009, I read Sanditon, The Watsons, Lady Susan, and the juvenilia from the Everyman’s Classics compilation so this is technically a reread. I enjoyed the book, but I don’t think I remember much of it so I may as well reread and review this one for Austen in August and the Classics Club.
This features Austen’s attempt at writing a villain and an antihero for the protagonist. This is a short epistolary novella so it’s not first person, but you get to see several characters through the letters. Epistolary works are best in short forms such as this because the format is limiting. Many early English novels are in letter form, but it can drag. This novella had the right length.
Lady Susan is not a good woman. She is deceitful, spiteful, manipulative, vain, not a good mother and yet amusing to read about. Personally, I don’t alway need to like characters in books, movies and film or even feel sympathetic to them, but they must be interesting. I found Lady Susan interesting or at least good to dislike. Like many selfish people, she has this weird logic about the way of world. With her letters, you can really tell she cannot help but think like this. She is just that amoral.
This was a nice, easy read that also had a lot of classic Austen touches, but it really showed another side to Austen. Weirdly enough, it reminded me of all the Georgette Heyer Regency novels I’ve been reading. Heyer has more characters who are scandalous and coquettish. I would recommend Heyer for those Austen readers who like the tone of Lady Susan.
Read on the Kindle August 7-8th 2012.