Jane Austen, the Banker’s Sister

Reading this fantastic book was a little like one of those dreams where you discover an extra room in your apartment. An entire book focused on Henry Austen, a man I’ve spent years thinking about and trying to imagine! Continue reading

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Reading While Human

This week I read a wonderful essay titled “Reading Jane Eyre While Black”  that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. Not only does it compare two of 19th -century England’s most fascinating writers — Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen — but it hits on many of the issues I’ve been thinking about lately. About authorial intent, and how there will always  be something a little mysterious about it, even to the author. Also how as both readers and writers we bring our own biases, both the known and unknown, to the page.

Tyrese L. Coleman makes many interesting points along the way, but one key theme is how “Jane Eyre” has been ruined for her by Bronte’s depiction of Bertha Mason, whose craziness and evil is inextricably linked to her West Indian origins and implicit blackness. Continue reading

On Writing and Resolution

Here’s an article I wrote for my alumna magazine about publishing a novel in midlife.  I love the textured and slightly trippy illustration by Polly  Becker. Fitting, too, since ladies of 1815 were expected to spend a lot of time sewing — a requirement that nearly drove my heroine, Rachel Katzman, mad with boredom.

Thank you, Barnard, for giving me a platform — also an education!

Behold Me Immortal

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, a melancholy moment for anyone who wishes she’d managed to live a little longer and write a few more works, I am sharing her “Plan for a Novel, According to Hints From Various Quarters”:

 

SCENE to be in the Country, Heroine the Daughter of a Clergyman, one who after having lived much in the World had retired from it and settled in a Curacy, with a very small fortune of his own. — He, the most excellent Man that can be imagined, perfect in Character, Temper, and Manners — without the smallest drawback or peculiarity to prevent his being the most delightful companion to his Daughter from one year’s end to the other. — Heroine a faultless Character herself, — perfectly good, with much tenderness and sentiment, and not the least Wit Continue reading

The Book in the World

I’ve fallen behind on this, what with all my reading to cats and humans and Jane Austen conference-attending, but it’s come to my notice that a few book bloggers have said some really nice things about Project recently.

Like Hannah at So Obsessed With,  who said

Honestly, so much could have gone wrong with this novel. And I have to admit that I kind of expected it to. I was intrigued by the summary when I started it, but I had pretty low expectations because I’ve been let down by so many Austen-related books before. That’s the risk you take when you follow a book hook into uncharted territory. However, I’m so pleased to be able to say that The Jane Austen Project far exceeded my expectations – and is already one of my favorite reads of 2017!

And Shawna at Transactions With Beauty, who said

Though an Austen manuscript is unlikely to be found IRL, Flynn’s book really is the next best thing. Highly enjoyable, smart, and quite a page turner.

 

And then there was Naomi at Consumed by Ink, who said

If you are a Jane Austen fan, and even if you aren’t (but especially if you are), you don’t want to miss this one. Sure, a book about Jane Austen and time travel sounds dicey, but The Jane Austen Project is smart, fun, and unputdownable.

This is the part that’s still so weird to me, that after living in my head so long, this book is in the world, and people are reading it.  Thanks so much, you guys! Thanks for reading, for your great blogs, and for spreading the word.