February 19, 2015

Snowbound with Station Eleven and Jane Austen

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Dystopia, England, Favorite Quotes, Jane Austen, Movie Reviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:53 pm by catsinboxes

It snowed this week, quite impressively for Louisville, blanketing the city and wreaking havoc on roads, schools, and schedules.

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I didn’t complain when my quiet weekend was extended by one day. (Though I did frown at my nearly-empty carton of eggs.)

As the snow fell outside, I made hot tea and settled down to read Station Eleven. (While the library has over a hundred people on the waiting list for this National Book Award Finalist, I lucked out and was lent a copy by a fellow reader.) Another book-loving friend had described Station Eleven as an absorbing page-turner, and it was a fun.

Resembling Dickens in its cast of characters and twisting story lines, Station Eleven darts back and forth, weaving the tale of a group of people across a number of years who are bound together by one man. Just after the book begins a pandemic sweeps across the world. It was almost eerie, reading about civilization crumbling in Station Eleven‘s world while —outside— the city ground to a halt, immobilized by snow.

I wouldn’t recommend Station Eleven unreservedly, but it is definitely an engaging book.

Another highlight of my quiet week was watching the 1995 BBC version of Persuasion with a fellow British drama lover. I. Love. That. Story.

Persuasion falls into my top three Jane Austen novels. It was my last to discover. . . . I was an early teen at the library and, locating Jane Austen in the fiction section, realized that here was one story of hers that I had not read. That was soon remedied!

Anne Elliot, the last heroine completed by Jane Austen, has depth. (And Amanda Root does a lovely job of displaying this in the movie!)

The movie is a wonderful adaption —my favorite for Persuasion. The casting is great and though I didn’t catch it last time, Harry Potter lovers, did you realize AUNT PETUNIA is Mrs. Croft?! It’s so funny to see her as a good character for a change, and actress Fiona Shaw does a lovely job.

I love the Crofts in both the movie and the book, and I’ve never forgotten Anne’s observations regarding the Crofts as they are out driving in their carriage. Mrs. Croft exclaims:

My dear Admiral, that post! we shall certainly take that post.”

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.

So, that’s part of what I enjoyed during this snowy week. How about you? Please do leave a comment; I love people chiming in!

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5 Comments »

  1. Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel. I just finished rereading it this weekend, and I was struck this time through with how wonderful the Crofts are! And how unusual — Austen has so few loving, happily-married, well-suited couples. At the moment, I can only think of Elizabeth Bennet’s Aunt and Uncle Gardiner as another example. But even they don’t hold a candle to the Crofts 🙂

    I really like the 1995 adaptation too, though I don’t think it does a very good job of filling the viewers in on what had happened between Anne and Captain Wentworth previously. But aside from that, it’s great. Have you seen the 2007 version? I didn’t like it nearly so well, except for Sally Hawkins as Anne — I thought she was very effective.

    • catsinboxes said,

      I’ve thought the same thing about the Crofts being unusual! Actually, I just thought of another happily married couple: Miss Taylor-that-was in Emma, but I can’t remember her surname! It’s not the same kind of well-suited though that the Crofts have; they’re in their own league!

      You’re right about the ’95 version; I watched it after reading the book, so I didn’t mind because I knew the backstory!

      I have seen the 2007 version, only once though. (I should watch it again!) I remember I did enjoy Sally Hawkins, but I didn’t like how rushed it was, especially the ending. I did love Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Wentworth though. If you enjoy action/thrillers, he does a great job in BBC’s adaptation of The Thirty-Nine Steps. (I reviewed it years ago on this blog, actually!)

      • The Westons! Yes, they’re happy too. Though still newlyweds, not long-married like the Crofts and Gardiners.

        I’ve only seen the 2007 once too, and I want to watch it again because I think I would like it better now that I know what they’ve changed.

        I didn’t know the BBC did a version of 39 Steps — very cool! I’ll see if I can dig it up sometime.

  2. eloisej said,

    I had no clue that was the same actress as Aunt Petunia! that blows my mind!
    That is my favorite adaptation of Persuasion as well. All of Austen’s books are great but Peruasion is one of my favorites… I love Anne Elliot… I wish I could be like her. 🙂
    http://youmeandacupofteablog.blogspot.com

    • catsinboxes said,

      Next time you watch it, I’ll bet you notice! And I love Anne, too. She’s great 🙂


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