Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen)

Monday, 14. January 2013

Northanger Abbey is a novel by Jane Austen. [Here's all the other Austen stuff I reviewed.]

Catherine Morland is the daughter of a family with a lot of children and not a whole lot of money. She grew up quite the tomboy, but has recently discovered her love for gothic horror novels. So when the Morland’s neighbors the Allens ask Catherine to come with them to Bath, Catherine is overjoyed to accept, expecting finally an adventure like the ones she read about so much. Once there, she meets Isabella Thorpe and her brother John, friends of Catherine’s brother James. John shows immediate interest in Catherine, but Catherine is much more interested in Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor.

I absolutely adored Northanger Abbey. It has a young adult vibe to it that I really enjoyed and it’s the funniest of Austen’s novels I have read so far – a straight send-up of all the gothic horror novels. I think it might have overtaken Pride and Prejudice (though not Emma or Sense and Sensibility) in my personal top Austen books list [We don't need to mention Mansfield Park because I did not like that]. Let the gushing begin!

I loved the wry voice Austen told this in. She’s meta, sarcastic and really funny. And while she does make fun of Catherine a lot, she obviously does so with a lot of affection for the character.

Which I can completely understand. In Catherine you have the rare teenage heroine who actually behaves like a teenager and is still not annoying. Like at all. Instead she is so sweet that I just wanted to hug her all of the time.

I also wanted to hug Henry all of the time. And do all kinds of other dirty stuff. He’s hot shit. And much like Austen, he teases Catherine, but always in a very loving way and without being mean. At the same time he takes her seriously and respects her and let’s her make up his own mind. These are things I can totally get behind.

It was actually a book that kept me up until 2am because I just had to know what happens next (even though nothing much happens at all) and when Henry and Catherine fought, I actually cried. And that just doesn’t happen that much.

Summarising: just wonderful.

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  1. This reminds me that I wanted to buy the collected works by Austen… Having only read S&S and P&P is really a shame, especially considering that I’m a student of English literature…

    Keep up the reviews of classics :)

    • I read classics way to rarely. But when I do, I’ll always review them.

      And yes, for an English student that is a little embarrassing. But in the end, it only means that you have all her other great novels ahead of you.

      • Ah, don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot about Austen in various lectures and read excerpts of many of her novels, just never got to read more than those 2 completely. But yeah, definitly looking forward to it. And to reading the 1500 pages collected novels of the Bronte sisters that has been waiting for me on my bookshelf the last 2 years

        • I still have to catch up with the Brontes myself. Only read Jane Eyre so far. But Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights are already on my shelf, too… and probably for more than two years. There’s just too much to read!

          (Which is just as it should be.)

          • I think Wuthering Heights is such a great title for a book. Once in my life I want to live in a house (or manor) that has a real proper name.

            what’s your opinion on book clubs? for example, a (bi-)monthly classics-of-the-english-literature book club?

          • I like book clubs. I tried a few, actually. Together with L., among other things. Usually we’d manage a few books before it faded out. ;) But yes, I’m certainly up for it, if you wanna do that. After you finish your thesis? ;)

          • Let’s say – in the near future.

  2. I support the paranoid-notandroid: More classics, plz.

  3. [...] Abbey Director: Jon Jones Writer: Andrew Davies Based on: Jane Austen’s novel Cast: Felicity Jones, JJ Feild, Carey Mulligan, Hugh O’Conor, Catherine Walker, Liam [...]

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