Literary Fiction, at its finest. This book is about marriage, and the politics surrounding it, in the early Nineteenth Century England. I can’t believe that this book was published first in 1813. The author brings the characters, situations and imagery to life and we are forced to believe that the story is happening right in front of our eyes, now! This is the first classic I ever read, and I now want to read more classics 🙂
Make no mistake – this is neither an ideal book, nor an easy book to read. I took many days to complete this book. Had I read it before even just a few years, I would not have completed it. I think, to be able to read and appreciate classics like this, one needs to be (somewhat) old and mature. This is almost a fairytale and has been written to give false hopes to young girls that marriage is the only worthy thing to look forward to, in their life. Maybe it was like that, back then.
The basic story is this: Elizabeth, is the second among 5 sisters (all having reached marriageable age). Their father cannot provide wealth (dowry?) for their marriage. The story deals with how they meet men, get deceived, face obstructions, and finally get married (?).
Even though I took a long time to read this book, the writing was too good. For a genre like this, pacey reading is almost impossible. But the author made me turn pages swiftly. Even though some of the discussions and narration is long-winded (by today’s standards), I was never bored.
Another big plus with the book is the characterization – I was able to get inside the skin of each character and was able to predict what they might do, in a given situation. Hats off to the author for such a wonderful characterization. She doesn’t describe the physical features of any characters, but still I was able to imagine how the characters might have looked, quite clearly. This enriches the novel, even more.
The transformation in attitudes has been brought about very well. I was able to believe and empathize with the decisions taken by the main character throughout the book – a huge feat! The complexities of human nature have been showcased very well.
But there are a few faults – the book is too idealistic, at least in the end. That’s why it felt fairy-tale-ish, and not realistic (which books in literary fiction ought to be). The conflict was not as serious as it could have been, especially in the end. The twists and turns in the beginning and middle were very good (and more believable), in contrast.
The continuing popularity of this book (even today) reminds us how human nature has almost been the same, after so many years. The similarities in the Indian culture & the English culture are striking. Maybe that made this book even more engaging, to me.
I feel that everyone (over thirty) should read this book. It will make you appreciate how human beings are basically the same (at all times) and will give you a good peak into human emotions, motivations and actions.
You can download the free eBook from the Project Gutenberg page for Pride and Prejudice.
- You can buy the paperback version of this book in India from Flipkart or Amazon.in. (Disclaimer: These are affiliate links and I may get a small commission if you buy the product after clicking on these links. Your price will not increase.)