Mansfield Park

358

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, 1814, ★★★★

How can one review this book? I don’t want to review it, I just want to talk about it, -grin. I hope I will with Kim. This was one of those titles we both chose to read, so that we could discuss it.

I have never been much of a Jane Austen fan. As a young adult, I read Pride and Prejudice in Spanish. Many years ago, I read it again in English. I liked it, but that was it. In my twenties, movie adaptations of her books were very popular in Spain. Emma Thompson and others I fail to remember, were in all of them. She and Anthony Hopkins, appeared also in The Remains of the Day, and Helena Bonham Carter was popular too with other book adaptations.

Albeit not being the biggest fan, at book club, they suggested reading Emma and Alexander McCall’s spin off, Emma, A Modern Retelling. They were alright. The original Emma moves slow. (That’s not a problem for me, it just kept me from being very impressed.) At book club, however, discussing Emma was high fun. Most of my friends are very versed in all her other books, and the movie adaptations.

I would have happily stopped there, had it not been for Kim, who suggested reading Northanger Abby. That was a title I enjoyed more than the previous two. It’s short, candid, and it has an amateurish tone that makes it charming.

Forward to the present, and Kim again suggested Mansfield Park, decision which I welcomed. The length and seriousness of it have been a pleasant surprise. Austen is very generous, she makes a novel out of nothing much, and she manages to keep you engaged through and through. At a quarter from the end, it becomes a page turner.

I’m always saying this, but I am truly glad not to have known anything of this book. That’s not completely true, I looked at a names chart, and it unfortunately had information of who’ll end up with who. I wish I hadn’t even known that. Even for well known classics such as this, there’s only one time when the plot can surprise you. After that first time, it’s the re-reading that will give us that depth, the joy of reuniting with dear people. But, aside from not discussing anything in detail about Fanny, the heroin of this title, and the rest, I have to say that the book was very close home. Austen’s comments on family, character, upbringing, etc., are timeless. She has a masterful way of profiling and creating characters that come alive in the pages. Now I understand her place in the hearts of millions of readers across the world and across generations past, present, and to come.

Maybe, as the writer of this book, or that book, (out of her main six), she’s still not my favorite author, but when looked in the context of all she wrote, and in the little time she did it, it’s impossible not to lament how short her life was. I can truly say the more I read her, the better her books get, and I’m so grateful that we have the books she wrote. Jane Austen’s kingdom is a nice place to inhabit, -there’s something in it for everyone!

 

10 thoughts on “Mansfield Park

  1. I loved that part: “Jane Austen’s kingdom is a nice place to inhabit.” Definitely! She does have so much to offer readers of all stages and ages. 🙂 And she has a way of making you invested in her characters and even wanting to see some of her character succeed. I love that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “she makes a novel out of nothing much!” Indeed! There isn’t much happening, yet I gobble up chapter after chapter. I’m also reading it with a friend, which makes the reading experience all the more pleasant.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe this book should be the next Jane Austen book I try to read. As you know, while I do have an appreciation for her writing, Austen would not be amongst my list of favorite authors. I did enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice and found it so fun to read after seeing the movie adaptations numerous times (both the BBC version and the newer version with Keira Knightley). Persuasion was okay, and I think by the time I finished the novel, it grew on me. 🙂 I know I’ve mentioned before how I tried to read Emma once and ended up setting it aside. I still haven’t tried to tackle that one again. I do want to read it at some point…..

    I do love a number of the movie adaptions of Austen’s works though. My top favorite movie adaptions of her works would be probably the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice (starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) and the BBC production of Emma (starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I need to reread this, because I remember not liking it as much, and I’m not sure why. I read it as a teen or young adult and I find that really changes how you take books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d only read Pride and Prejudice before reading this one and I loved it! I adored Fanny as a main character and now I really look forward to more Austen. She writes such fun books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I read MP and Emma this past summer and fall and found both of them wonderful. I can see why some readers become Austen fanatics. And her books have affected people profoundly since they were first published! It’s weird that she is relevant and fun and wise and brave for so many different readers, across time and cultures.

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