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2004-09-15 - 1:54 p.m.

Um, here I am in beautiful Danyang. I'm a bit worried about money but, meh, what can you do? Budget carefully and remember that I've got some American dollars tucked away in case anything goes wrong. Yes, that's what I can do.


I finished "Pride and Prejudice" and then immediately afterward read "King Rat" by James Clavell. What a contrast! Reading the Clavell definitely added to my appreciation of Austen. Also, realising that her book was nearly 200 years old and that it... it probably was the first of its kind. I mean, the very first novel to be written purely about ordinary, believable domestic events, no big explosions or car chases (so to speak), with the interest arising from one's encounter with the characters. And the characters are very well drawn, I have to admit. The pacing is... well, a bit slow in parts, maybe, but it's very well handled and it speeds up very agreeably once Elizabeth runs into Darcy at Pemberly. So, all in all, I am forced to grudgingly admit that this is a really great book and a huge achievement. However, I'm still not really all that fond of it. There's a quote from Charlotte Bronte somewhere, and she says that she shouldn't very much like to live in the world which the books describe, and that's pretty much how I feel, too. I think to really love the book, in other words, you really have to be fantasizing about meeting and marrying Mr Darcy yourself, and since I'm not then I don't.


There are limestone caves here which are extremely beautiful. And a lake. Lakes and mountains covered in forests... it's stunningly beautiful. I'm out of English-language books (so far I've read "The Bomb Party" by Graham Greene, "The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith" by Peter Carey, "Pride and Prejudice" and "King Rat". I really should read Tristram Shandy so I know what the points of reference are with Carey's book... hmmm.) Yes, I've run out of English language books. Also, I've been experiencing some weird twitches in the index finger of my right hand which are a little disturbing.


Another thing I can't figure out about Pride and Prejudice; does Austen notice the mercenary motive underlying most of these marriages approvingly, disapprovingly, or merely... notice them? The fact that money is such a big part of marriage is... see, I think it's really good that she's actually acknowledged this and noticed it and put it right up front for the reader to see instead of softening it with some kind of subterfuge or elision, but... well, I guess it makes me very curious about her attitude to it. She herself tried to marry a poor curate but was forbidden from going ahead by her father, or something like that? I can't remember the details of the story.


"Brown sugar

How come you taste so good?" - The Rolling Stones

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