Tina Jordan
April 15, 2016 AT 01:06 PM EDT

Eligible: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Curtis Sittenfeld
publisher
Random House
genre
Novel

We gave it an A-

It may have been published 203 years ago, but the first line of Pride and Prejudice still crackles: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Curtis Sittenfeld’s sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling of the Jane Austen classic does not open with quite the same punch—“Well before his arrival in Cincinnati, everyone knew that Chip Bingley was looking for a wife”—but in almost every other way, the fizzy tale of the five Bennet sisters and their marriage-minded mother works beautifully in 21st-century Ohio. The characters have kept all their original motivations, and Sittenfeld hews closely to Austen’s smart, satirical plot, substituting CrossFit, shopping, and reality TV for dances and teas. If there’s one thing that’s lost in this cross-century translation, it’s the utter romance of Pride and Prejudice (a run-down Midwestern Tudor is a far cry from Pemberley). But that’s a small quibble, one that won’t stop you from guzzling this down in one or two sittings. A–

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