Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Death Comes to Pemberley
There are nice touches throughout the narrative, including some witticisms worthy of the source material, and an intriguing subplot involving Darcy's great-grandfather. James writes in 19th Century prose but is willing to modernize a little in her descriptions of the emotional world of her character's. Lizzy is, unfortunately, fairly flat, but Darcy comes across as more fully human than he was in P & P. While the book slogged for me in the first half, it picked up toward the end at the inquest. As all was explained I found myself fairly riveted, plus moved by the interior worlds of Austen's characters.
P. D. James is 91 and it is hard not to imagine that she has allowed herself the opportunity to enter the fictional world of Austen. It is like a gift she has given to herself, and her warmth toward her characters (and warmth has never been a hallmark of any James' book) is apparent throughout. It's not a great book but there's something touching about it, and being immersed in the beautiful prose-style of P. D. James is never a bad thing.