Post-Reading: Persuasion

“You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan.”
(A letter from Captain Wentworth to Anne Elliot )
 
The time between finishing a book and writing about it should be as short as possible, as in I prefer when it happens immediately. My memory is strong and my feelings are fresh, the perfect foundation for reflection. Alas, I let this one linger, so I am afraid that whatever I write will be a dimmed version of my true love and enthusiasm for the book. Persuasion is thus far and by far my favorite of Jane Austen. It is a love story not of excessive romance, but of two people growing older, wiser, and finding their way back together. The pages overflow with characters, but unlike Sense and Sensibility, which required scribbling family trees in the margins, I found it easy to keep track of Persuasion’s names and relations. Every character is unique and well-developed, even the minor ones are memorable, and almost every one of them has some kind of influence on the relationship between Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth.
 
During a group outing in which the friends disperse among various activities, Anne becomes flustered by a conversation she overhears between Wentworth and Henrietta. Anne is relieved when everyone in the party gathers back together, as she is able to collect herself amidst the noise of the crowd: “Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence which only numbers could give.” I immediately thought of the same idea famously expressed in The Great Gatsby: “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
 
My only wish is that I could have been privy to the details of Anne and Wentworth’s relationship. We are to assume that they are soul mates, that this is a meeting of the minds, yet because they are estranged for most of the story, we do not get to witness the connection ourselves. I suppose this is only a credit to Austen’s talent of creating characters whom we would love to observe, or to overhear in long conversation. I’m bound to come back to Austen, and the call will surely be Emma, but for now I leave her, and I think I miss her already.
 
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Labels: Classic, Post-Reading, Reflections, ,

Comments

  1. This is an Austen’s book I miss. I should probably take it and keep it for when I need happy and comfy books, as I see them. Sounds promising. I actually saw a film adaptation, but I found it a bit disconcerting because the main character kept looking straight at the camera at random points without saying anything and I lost focus on the plot, silly me, so I didn’t appreciate it much.

    I like the quote!
    Eithne on the Moon | Lifestyle, books and travels!

  2. I’m a silent reader of your blog. But now I have to say something. I often read very good reviews on your blog and it lets my “wishlist of books to read” grow everytime. I really like how you describe the books and I’m always happy to see a new blogpost by you on my bloglovin account.
    Enjoy the weekend!
    Best,
    Natacha

  3. Persuasion is my second favourite book by Jane Austen after Pride and Prejudice–and I wholeheartedly agree with your views here. I also appreciate how it’s romantic but at the same time realistic given the whole waiting, is-he is-she involved.

    xoxo
    Nadia

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