I am an unashamed Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice alone has brought me more joy, and Elizabeth Bennett more inspiration, than any novel seems to have a right to – though whether it has also ruined me for life romantically as I wait for Mr Darcy remains to be seen.
As a fan, I have watched with interest as various parody novels have appeared, unsure whether or not to read them. Curiosity, inevitably, won out.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H Winters has been my first foray into this world, and it has let me down. It has done the unthinkable, made me think less of the original.
The novel is a bizarrely exact copy of Sense and Sensibility, with the obvious addition of sea monsters. Sea monsters themselves I have no problem with, in fact I think in fictional terms, I’m in favour. But such a close repetition of the original, less artfully constructed, just serves to exaggerate issues with the original for me. Have they really forgiven Willoughby so soon? Has Marianne really fallen in love with Brandon having not looked twice at him for more than three quarters of the novel? Are they really talking about food again?
I’ve decided to give them one more chance however, and Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James is next on the list…