FICTION

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice

Random. May 2016. 512p. ISBN 9781400068326. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780812997613. F
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In this charming modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Sittenfeld (Prep; American Wife) deftly brings Austen's classic into the 21st century. Set in 2013 Cincinnati, it features sisters Liz (a magazine editor) and Jane (a yoga instructor), who return from New York to tend to their recently hospitalized father. There they meet Dr. Chip Bingley, lately of the reality show Eligible, and Dr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The women deal with a host of problems, such as a pair of younger sisters too obsessed with CrossFit to get actual jobs, and a mother with a shopping/hoarding problem who's desperate to see them married off before Jane hits 40. Interwoven into the Bennet family's issues is a fairly faithful adherence to the original plot. Sittenfeld's style is endlessly amusing and, at times, gut-wrenchingly painful. Her take on Austen's iconic characters is skillful, her pacing excellent, and her dialog highly entertaining. Liz, though not quite as sparkling and bright as the original, is still endearing, and Darcy is his usual slightly aloof, stand-up self.
VERDICT Austen fans will adore this new offering, a wonderful addition to the genre.

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