FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

The LFF's Book Club. We read and discuss books nominated by members. Join in by asking to have your name added to the list of challenges. We encourage frank and open discussions and expressions of opinions. Any aspect of the books is fair game.

Moderators: FranW, ElaineB

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby ElaineB » 13 Jul 2010, 02:00

I think it's just as revealing when people have trouble finishing a book as when they do finish it--for good or bad. I, for one, am ready to discuss, despite getting only a bit further than Wildlx (I tried again at Baker's urging, but alas...). I'm hoping the encouragement of those who do finish might spark a renewed effort! (Or I might just skip to the end.)
User avatar
ElaineB
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: 23 Mar 2010, 01:11
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby deej » 13 Jul 2010, 10:09

Bakkkkkeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr - Elaine is cheating. rofl rofl rofl
Raise your hand if someone you know is alive today because you can't afford a hit man.
User avatar
deej
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 10706
Joined: 19 Mar 2010, 11:16
Location: Pennslyvania, USA

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby Sacchi » 13 Jul 2010, 14:15

I'm at the same stage as Wildlx and Elaine. Can;t anybody assure us that it gets less densely boring after the first 100 pages?

Emma is very nearly my least favorite Austen novel, contested only by Mansfield Park, but at least MP has the excuse of having been one of the required texts for my final comprehensive English exam in college. (Dickens' Our Mutual Friend was the other.)
User avatar
Sacchi
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 2143
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 10:13
Location: Western Massachusetts

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby Nurse Jo » 13 Jul 2010, 18:45

I think that is the problem in a nutshell Sacchi. Emma seems to be many people's least favourite Austen novel. The problem for the FRC book is that it is based - closely - on Emma.

I've finished it btw. I confess to a little skimming.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
User avatar
Nurse Jo
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 3091
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 06:32
Location: Suffolk UK

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby ElaineB » 17 Jul 2010, 05:50

So Jo, is that all you have to say about it? And Deej, what about you? You finished it and said you liked it. Come on folks, step up to the challenge bar.

For me, I was bored. At first I was intrigued, so got out my (unread) copy of Emma to see how they compared. JF is the same text with some pronouns changed and shaking hands becomes kissing and petting. So perhaps my problem has more to do with Ms. Austen. But I also was a bit annoyed that Jane had to do all the work, but this guy gets the royalties for changing a few pronouns? But in the end, boredom did me in. I tried skimming, but then really lost track of what was happening. Endless pages of petty arguments back and forth. When Emma conflicted so severely with Mr. Knightley, I figured that's who she'd end up with. I also had trouble keeping track of all the characters.
User avatar
ElaineB
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: 23 Mar 2010, 01:11
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby wildlx » 17 Jul 2010, 06:07

ElaineB wrote:I also had trouble keeping track of all the characters.

That's probably because you were skimming ;-).
Anyway, I agree with what you wrote. I forced myself to read Emma up until the end, so reading James Fairfax just after was too much, especially because the writing was very close to the original book - the main differences the explanations about the same-sex marriages. Anyway, for me the challenge was good in that it made me see that even a writer I like a lot can write very boring books!
A lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. “The Woman-Identified Woman” Radicalesbians (1970)
User avatar
wildlx
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 5714
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 06:57
Location: Lisbon, PT

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby Nurse Jo » 17 Jul 2010, 06:37

lol Yes, that was my conclusion too Wildlx. I count Austin as one of my favourite authors but Emma is not a book I'll read again. I must have read it at school years ago because I'd forgotten how nauseating the character of Emma was. I wanted her to lose all of her money and prestige, and live in poverty(ok, I may get too involved in the books I read!!). I know she sees sense in the end but it's all too late for me. Mr Knightley should have taken her in hand much earlier IMHO. So, I ploughed through Emma and then, my goodness, there was the same book with almost the exact same prose but with same sex characters. I wanted to tell the authors the following;
* This was a fab idea BUT next time choose a better book (I can imagine Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility for example, being quite hilarious rewritten in this vein).
*Put SOME of your own personality into it PLEASE. Make the book your own a little more.
*Don't just change pronouns and the odd word here and there - readers are quite capeable of doing that in their own mind without your help.

Austin's brilliant wit and astute social commentary was still noticeable - the portrayal of the Eltons for example, or the way she portrays Emma's father. You feel you would know Mrs Elton, or Mr Woodhouse, if you met them. We all know people like those characters. Unfortunately, the authors of the challenge book didnt add to this. The clever bits were all Austin really. Imo anyway.

Now, I do think that the FRC book was a fascinating idea - rewriting classics with a same sex flavour could be fun. However, it needs to be more than the odd word change. I am not sure what it needs but I know it needs more. I just felt as if I was re-reading the book I'd just read :(

Thank you Fran. A very interesting challenge - it certainly made me think about my likes and dislikes.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
User avatar
Nurse Jo
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 3091
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 06:32
Location: Suffolk UK

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby ElaineB » 17 Jul 2010, 07:17

Has anyone read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? I assume this is a knock off of that idea, but I haven't read it, so don't know how much was changed. Though reading the opening on amazon makes me think it might be quite good.

I did think at one point that Emma/James Fairfax might be improved if it was all women.
User avatar
ElaineB
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 6625
Joined: 23 Mar 2010, 01:11
Location: Massachusetts, USA

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby Nurse Jo » 17 Jul 2010, 08:07

I am not sure I want to read P and P and zombies :scared: That is one of my favourite books so I am not at all sure it needs zombies. I think it's pretty perfect as it is :)

Maybe I'm more resistant to change than I think :oops:
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
User avatar
Nurse Jo
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 3091
Joined: 25 Mar 2010, 06:32
Location: Suffolk UK

Re: FRC Discussion: James Fairfax

Postby FranW » 17 Jul 2010, 08:24

Jo, I was really struck by your observation that "readers are perfectly capable of changing minor details like pronouns in their minds". I can't count the number of times I've seen/heard readers say that before lesfic, they read straight books but just changed the sex of one of the characters in their mind. They do seem much happier having lesfic, where they don't have to do that, but yeah, it's not all that hard for a reader to imagine Mr Darcy as a woman and enjoy P&P. So while I think James Fairfax was a fascinating experiment, it did have three strikes against it: 1) Emma, the original, was not Austen's best book; 2) the changes to the text and storyline were fairly minor; 3) the author wasn't able to mimic Austen's brilliance (though to be fair who could?).

Well, you can't say that I didn't provide you with a challenge, anyhow! :-)
No on H8
User avatar
FranW
Heartbeat of the forum
Heartbeat of the forum
 
Posts: 7084
Joined: 20 Mar 2010, 10:00

PreviousNext

Return to Reading Challenges

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron