Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid --- 343 pages

Scottish crime fiction writer Val McDermid has produced a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen's Gothic parody classic as the second volume in HarperCollins' "Austen Project." This follows last year's project debut with Joanna Trollope reworking Sense and Sensibility. 

While I'd give McDermid's effort equal marks with Trollope's, so far I have to say my reaction to HarperCollins bright idea is that their marketing gimmick is like a three day old helium balloon, slowly but steadily deflating.

McDermid displays an unsuspected talent for light comedy, and there are a number of sly literary allusions that the knowledgeable will enjoy, but this is, essentially, just one more effort to milk the Austen cash cow.

But here are two contrasting recent reviews that you can read before deciding for yourself whether this is worth a look. And by the way, I strongly endorse The Guardian reviewer's recommendation of Jo Baker's Longbourn as an original and far superior perspective on Austen's work.

Click HERE to read The Guardian review of Val McDermid's Northanger Abbey.

Click HERE to read the Boston Globe review of Val McDermid's Northanger Abbey.

Click HERE to access the web site of the Austen Project.

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