Jane Austen
Peacock Books, New Delhi, 2001
ISBN 81 248 0026 X
440 pages

Emma is the last book of Jane Austen (released in 1816), and said to be the most accomplished and representative work of her. For being classics, Jane Austen’s are sold in cheap price, and available through internet in the form of ebooks.

Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist, was an intelligent and pretty woman of 21, lived with her old, selfish, and easily-agitated father in Hartfield, a big and rich residence in a large village called Highbury. Her older sister Isabel was married to a rather-unsocial John Knightley, and lived with their 2 sons in London (sixteen miles off). The Woodhouses were respected by her neighbours and Emma’s words are highly appreciated. The family had a regular visitor and intimate friend, a 38-years-old Mr George Knightley, yepp, you’re right: he was the elder brother-in-law of Isabel, who lived a mile from Highbury, in Donwell Abbey. Mr George Knightley was the only one who sensible enough to see Emma’s faults and strong enough to told her about them. Emma thought very highly of herself, and very conscious of her level in society (I think it’s not uncommon at the time Miss Austen wrote the story, being in the 19th century). She liked to play matchmaking, after her first success with her own ex-governess and best friend Miss Taylor, who married a Mr Weston, a very nice man with good fortune. She embarked to the matchmaking of a new-found orphan friend Harriet to a Mr Elton, the vicar of Highbury. As for herself, she thought she would never want to marry, being satisfied with her present life, and because she can never leave her father who depend so much on her.

The coming of Frank Churchill, a son of Mr Weston from previous marriage, to Highbury, brought a colour to the uneventful life of Highbury, and highly anticipated by the ladies, because of his being very handsome and clever, and because of the fact that he never set his foot in Highbury for a very very long time. His coming also brought Emma deeper entwined into other people’s affairs, and, without being aware of this fault of hers, although she did all that for what-she-thought-as-goodwill, she has caused many awkwardness and misunderstaning in some of her friends. I will stop here so that I will not spoil the whole story. I can only say that, like other Jane Austen’s books, the protagonist will end up with the best man in the story, a very predictable, but satisfying end.

As usual with classics, you can expect difficult words and structures, but wholly, it is easy to read and funny (the irony and wittiness of Emma and the Knightley brothers), although rather tiring (being narrative, I finished it after 1 month, read it in-between ther books).

My conclusion: worth to read, worth to download (for you eboook readers), worth to buy (for you who need good books with cheap prices).


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