Letters to Alice on First Reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon
Category: Books about Books
Well, I heard about this from some other LibraryThing readers and could hardly pass up the chance to read something about Jane Austen! This is about an aunt who (much like Jane Austen before her) corresponds with a niece interested in writing novels. The niece, Alice, is a fictional girl of green-and-black colored hair who can't imagine why Jane Austen would be considered relevant today.
The blend of fiction and literary criticism threw me for a loop at first. The first few letters talk about Jane Austen's life and times, then move on to talk about each of her novels in turn; all are peppered with advice about reading, writing, and listening (or not) to critics. In fact, this struck me as much more about the writing itself than about Jane Austen in particular. At times witty, and other times confusing, sometimes I agreed and at others I wholeheartedly disagreed. But that, as I'm sure "Aunt Fay" would agree, is one of the joys of visiting the "City of Invention" that is made of books. 3.5 stars.
Cross-posted at Born Reader.