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Friday, April 12, 2019

#AtoZ Challenge: L Is For Lost In Austen and Lost In A Good Book

In today’s post, I’d like to share with you  another visual piece of fantasy. This time, it’s the very funny British mini-series Lost In Austen. Check out this link to the trailer for an idea of what it’s like. 


If you haven’t read the novel, you are probably familiar in one way or another with the story of the middle-class but poor Bennet family, living in Regency England and trying to find wealthy husbands for the five daughters. There are so many versions, not only of the original story but updates and even turning it into the  paranormal(Pride And Prejudice And Zombies). Among the updates are a Bollywood version, Bride And Prejudice(the Bennets are a modern Indian family, the Bakshis) and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I’m not surprised. This is, for my money, the most enjoyable of Austen’s novels and the easiest to digest if you’re not familiar with the fiction of the era.

Lost In Austen tells the story of modern woman Amanda Price, a great fan of Pride And Prejudice. She has read it over and over, to escape from a dull and dreary life. One night, she finds Elizabeth Bennet, heroine of the Austen novel, in her bathroom. Apparently she has found her way through via a hallway in her home, Longbourn. Amanda goes through the door to look and the door closes on her. She is trapped in Regency England - the England of a novel! 

Telling the Bennets that she is a friend of Elizabeth’s, she is allowed to stay, though Mrs Bennet is suspicious of her. This is the beginning of the novel. Elizabeth hasn’t yet met Darcy. 

As you can imagine, Amanda stuffs up the storyline - and finds it getting worse and worse as she tries to fix it. Among other things, she finds out that Wickham, the villain of the original story, is not as bad as he was written. Meanwhile, as she also learns, Elizabeth has got a job as a nanny in modern London and acquired a mobile phone...

I own a copy of the DVD and have played it many times. It is hilarious. (If you’ve seen Colin Firth emerging from a pond in his wet clothes, there is a particular scene in this that will give you a good laugh.) 

If you enjoy Dr Who, Alex Kingston, who plays Mrs Bennet, may be better known to you as the wonderful Dr River Song. But she makes a very good Mrs Bennet too! 

Another story with “Lost” in the title is Jasper Fforde’s Lost In A Good Book, second in the Thursday Next series that started with The Eyre Affair




You do have to love books and especially the classics to get the most out of this series, though it’s funny anyway, and over the top. Imagine a universe in which fact and fiction mix and it’s an everyday thing to travel to the worlds of fiction. Literary detective Thursday Next lives in Swindon, has a pet dodo and is part of a group who have to sort out problems caused to the worlds of novels. Fictional people mix with real ones. In this novel, for example, Thursday’s boss is Miss Havisham from Great Expectations.  There is a huge amount of punning going on in these books. 

There are a couple of spinoffs, The Big Overeasy and The Fourth Bear, the Nursery Crimes novels. They’re written as police procedurals, but in a world where characters are from nursery rhymes, including the hero, DCI Jack Spratt. In the first one, he is investigating the murder of Humpty Dumpty. Apparently, this was his first novel, but he couldn’t sell it till the Thursday Next books were a hit, and even so, he rewrote it a lot. 


All these are available on line. 

17 comments:

Hels said...

I have found that if I really love a book, seeing a film version later is likely to be a great disappointment. That is because I am committed to the author's own version of the story, not changed by film editors, directors, actors and commercial interests.

If I see the film first and then read the book, or if the book is not rivetting, then the above does not apply.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Hels! A lot of people feel that. I still prefer the Harry Potter books to the films, though I also enjoyed those. And don’t even get me started on what American filmmakers did to The Dark Is Rising! But when the film is made with respect, by people who love the original, such as Lord Of The Rings, it works for me.

However, this mini series was aimed at people familiar with the original, who would enjoy the in jokes, and, for me at least, it worked.

The Joyous Living said...

I used to LOVE "Lost in Austen". I love the interpretation of Wickham, don't you?

Joy at The Joyous Living

Sue Bursztynski said...

Absolutely! He was one of my favourites.

Brian Joseph said...

There is a natural inclination to fantasize about beloved literature and beloved literary characters. In cases like Lost in Austen we even create fiction about it. Lost in Austen looks to be a lot of fun

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Brian! Well, yes... That’s what fan fiction is all about, and I wrote a lot of it over the years. And yes, Los I. Austen is great fun!

Melanie Roussel said...

I've never seen Lost in Austen, but a lot of my friends love it. And 'Lost in a Good Book' is the next book on my pile!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Melanie! I hope you enjoy Jasper Fforde as much as I do.

Stuart Nager said...

Never heard of this before. I watched the trailer. Looks fun.

Stuart
Tale Spinning
https://stuartnager.wordpress.com/

Random Musings said...

I'm not a big fab of Austen, but this one actually sounds really good and funny
Debbie

Sue Bursztynski said...

Definitely worth checking out, yes, Debbie!

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Ha! I enjoy a good story about getting lost in a novel... :)

The Multicolored Diary

Sue Bursztynski said...

In this case, LITERALLY! 🙂

Roland Clarke said...

Although I read most of Jane Austen's books at school - one set book was 'Northanger Abbey' - I never got to see that film and wish I had. As for Jasper Fforde, I was a fan of Thursday Next and devoured the books when they came out including Lost In A Good Book - Miss Havisham has to be one of the best characters ever. Dickens created a memorable person in Great Expectations - another of my set books - and Thursday made even more of her. Or was it Jasper?

Sue Bursztynski said...

Hi Roland! I think it was Jasper! 🙂 He must have had so much fun writing those.

Roland Clarke said...

His latest sounds as crazy - from a writer that I follow, who will interview him at some Welsh book fest.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I can’t keep up with this series! Must look out for the new one.