Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Emma – book review

The book might seem like a tame romance but when taken in the context of the social make-up of the highly traditional and conservative society of the early nineteenth century, this can be considered a very bold and daring portrayal of a woman’s sensitivity and a touching account of the finer sentiments of romance. Jane Austen, the author of this novel is, as always, very engaging. She captures the reader’s attention with her classic and beautiful narrating style. The language is flowery and captivatingly simple and impeccable. Come to think of it, the story stripped of its frills is no different from a modern Mills and Boon romance but the feature that distinguishes this book and makes it a world apart from an M&B is the author’s impeccable English, her attention to detail in her portrayal of the characters and the fantastic build-up of the story to its climax and the inevitable and predictable “and they lived happily ever after” ending.

In Emma, Jane Austen portrays very beautifully the trials, tribulations and the triumph of love. The protagonist, Emma is strong willed and independent. Although she is a little haughty and proud, she is very lovable and intelligent. She is the mistress of the Woodhouse household, rather spoiled having gotten used to getting her own way. She is forever trying her hand at matchmaking to see her friends happily settled although she is not interested in getting married herself and, more often than not, she does not succeed in her matchmaking attempts. The other principal characters - Mr. Knightley, Emma’s critic and well-wisher whom Emma finally realizes she is in love with, Mrs. Weston, formerly Miss Taylor and Emma’s governess and Emma’s father Mr. Woodhouse and his idiosyncrasies have been given a lot of thought and attention. These characters and the powerful writing style will hold your attention throughout the book.

Jane Austen transports you to the nineteenth century characterized by the leisurely pace of people’s lives, by mothers whose only mission in life seems to be getting their daughters married to the most eligible men, by the balls and dances, social gatherings and outings and by the simple and uncomplicated country life. It is as if you were peeping through a sky-light or window into the houses and into the lives of the characters. This book is a good remedy for the sickness that most of us, modern working men and women suffer from – of being caught up in the daily grind, of fighting daily traffic nightmares and impatient drivers to reach work half dead even before the day begins and of being too busy and stressed out balancing work and home. If you are ever in the mood for a book that is light and simple and yet interesting, Emma is highly recommended and is definitely a good read.