In the High Peaks

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jane Eyre and The Flight of Gemma Hardy

After groaning over P.D. James writing a novel post-Pride and Prejudice, I find myself falling prey to Margot Livesey's reworking of Jane Eyre in The Flight of Gemma Hardy.

How did this happen? I realize now that I had high expectations of P.D. James. I still haven't recovered from her decision to put her mystery novels to rest. I can understand her retiring from writing books at age 90 plus, but to go off on a Jane Austen bender was too much for me to handle with composure.

It seems that because I have no expectations about Margot Livesey, other than the fact that she is a respected novelist, I've been willing to be led down the Jane Eyre garden path. Yes, I'm enjoying The Flight of Gemma Hardy, but I must warn you, I'm a third of the way through and so far, Livesey doesn't stray far from Bronte's novel, other than to update the storyline to 1958. But I LIKE it! Perhaps it's important to admit that Jane Eyre is my favorite English novel.

But in Gemma Hardy's case, I can't imagine why she didn't run away from Mrs. Bryant's school and head for London or another major city to see if she could survive in the streets or the countryside. Maybe I'm too much the independent/explorer type, but I'd much prefer robbing from a farm or two or doing odd jobs in a city, always hiding myself, to enduring the horrors at the school. I can see why Jane Eyre didn't run away, but the twentieth century presents an entirely different environment.

1 comment:

  1. I'm on the list for this one at the library. I've heard many good things about it!