Monday, November 9, 2009

"I Dated Jane Austen" by T.C.Boyle

T.C. Boyle does many things, and he does them well. His short story "Chicxulub" is incredibly powerful. I loved his novel The Tortilla Curtain, and look forward to reading the others I have on my shelf. He also does a fabulous job reading the audio versions of his novels... which is not, by any means, a given for authors. Yesterday, I discovered that he's even dated Jane Austen!

While perusing his collection entitled t.c. boyle stories, "I Dated Jane Austen", found in the "love" section, caught my eye. Written in 1977, it tells of Boyle's date with our beloved Jane. He arrives at the Austen residence (dressed in 70's attire), and is shown into a parlor to meet Reverend Austen.

I could see it coming with the certainty and illogic of an aboriginal courtship rite: a round of polite chit-chat.
The Reverend cleared his throat. "So what do you think of Mrs Radcliffe's new book?"

Soon it's time to head out to the movies.

There really wasn't much room for Cassandra in the Alfa Romeo, but the Reverend and his troop of sons insisted that she come along. She hefted her skirts, wedged herself into the rear compartment and flared her parasol, while Jane pulled a whit cap down over her curls and attempted a joke about Phaetons and the winds of Aeolus. The Reverend stood at the curb and watched my fingers as I helped Jane fasten her seat belt, and then we were off with a crunch of gravel and a billow of exhaust.

The juxtaposition of 70's hip with 18th century manners is quite humorous.

As you might expect, things don't go exactly as planned at the movies. Boyle decides to take the Austen sisters clubbing instead, and you'll never guess who they run into!

As it turn out, you don't have to guess. This story, in it's entirety and complete with illustrations, can be found on the author's website. Click here to read it. It's short and just a lot of fun!

Visit The Book Mine Set for more Short Story Monday posts.


26 comments:

  1. Oh what fun!!!!! I will be off and reading. Thanks so much for posting about this.

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  2. Thanks for posting this--I'll be reading it!

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  3. LOL! I saw the title and thought 'no way!' as in how cool is this. On my way to download this story...thanks JoAnn!

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  4. I'm half way through The Inner Circle by TC Boyle and am loving it! I haven't heard of this one, so I'm off to read it - thank you for drawing it to my attention!

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  5. OMG what a hoot. See, and I thought the Jane Austen craze was just a recent thing! T.C. Boyle was ahead of his time!

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  6. I so Loved The Tortilla Curtain (read it twice), something I rarely do.

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  7. This sounds so funny! I am going to download it later!

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  8. I've heard so many good things about The Tortilla Curtain, and this book sounds very good as well. I think it's time for me to get some of this author's work!

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  9. This is the first I've heard of this! Sounds like a good one for the challenge and a good way for me to try Boyle for the first time.

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  10. Great post! TC Boyle is a wonderful writer and this is so funny! I'm am looking forward to reading it!

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  11. love it! great find. i'm off to read it too.

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  12. Oh that looks great! thanks for talking about it & linking! :-)

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  13. Beth F - It is fun - enjoy!

    Reviewsbylola - Oh good! It will only take a few minutes.

    Darlene - That was pretty much my reaction when I came across it in the book. The illustrations are great, too.

    Jackie - The Inner Circle isn't one I have here, but am very interested in reading. Hope you enjoy the story!

    Sandy - Boyle is amazing, lol! Hard to believe this was written back in the 70's.

    Diane - I just loved The Tortilla Curtain and wouldn't mind reading it again! Have you read any of his other novels?

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  14. Oh, I'm so happy to hear this is available online! It sounds delightful :D

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  15. Rachel - Enjoy!

    Rhapsodyin books - I just love Boyle! This story will only take a few minutes to read. I also linked to Chicxulub. The Tortilla Curtain is excellent!

    Stacybuckeye - It's so short, I almost felt like it was cheating to count it for the challenge!

    Amy - This seemed so creative, and I just love Boyle, too! Have fun with the story.

    vvb32reads - Have fun...Jane at the nightclub is a riot!

    Marie - You're welcome...enjoy!

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  16. Nymeth - You also get the illustrations on-line! They weren't included in the collection.

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  17. I have to read something by this author!! Thanks for the link!!

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  18. Staci - Definitely try one of the short stories! I included links for both...he writes some good stuff.

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  19. I love TC Boyle!! This sounds like a real hoot. Will definitely be reading this! Thank you.

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  20. I'm not a lover of Jane Austen spin-offs but this looks too good to resist. Thank you for the link.

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  21. DS - Hurray, another Boyle fan!

    Fleurfisher - This is better than a spin-off and, since it was written in the 70's, definitely ahead of the trend.

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  22. OH, I should read this since I was in high school during the 70's. (Egads!) Sounds fun. Thanks!

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  23. Kim - Oh, this was a lot of fun...and I was in high school in the 70's too!

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  24. Haha this one sounds so weird, I have to read it

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  25. I've been watching the four-part TV series about the girl who walks into Elizabeth Bennett's time with a copy of Pride and Prejudice. This book sounds very much like what I've been watching! What fun!

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  26. Blodeuedd - Weird, but in a fun sort of way.

    Matt - You're watching Lost in Austen! I saw it last summer, and that's exactly what I was thinking about when I read this story!

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