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Books > Literature & Fiction > Classics > 0804197954
  1. Emma: A Modern Retelling
    Emma: A Modern Retelling
    Emma: A Modern Retelling
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Emma: A Modern Retelling

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (258 reviews)
    Price R342.00

Additional Information

The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series deftly escorts Jane Austen’s beloved, meddlesome heroine into the twenty-first century in this delightfully inventive retelling.
The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury to prepare for the launch of her interior design business. As she cultivates grand plans for the future, she re-enters the household of her hypochondriac father, who has been living alone on a steady diet of vegetables and vitamin supplements. Soon Emma befriends Harriet Smith, the naïve but charming young teacher’s assistant at an English-language school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard. Harriet is Emma’s inspiration to do the two things she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world and put her matchmaking skills to good use.
Happily, this summer presents abundant opportunities for her to do just that, as many friends, both old and new, are drawn into the sphere of Emma’s occasionally injudicious counsel: Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma’s former governess; George Knightley, Emma’s brother-in-law and dear friend; the charming yet self-important Philip Elton; and, of course, the perfect (and perfectly vexing) Jane Fairfax.
Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle satire and cozy, old-fashioned sensibility prove to be the perfect match for Jane Austen’s wit and characters. Though carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea with cappuccinos, Emma’s story is wonderfully timeless.

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Alexander McCall Smith
First Edition, First Printing
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

I love the author, I love Emma, and I love Jane Austen! I would have loved to give this five stars. For sure there are some lovely, and some funny parts too, in McCall Smith's version. And so well-written: thus I can't give it just one star. Buuuut... he ultimately failed in bringing the story to have an equivalent effect in today's world. My husband read aloud Jane Austen to me, my elderly aunt and my mom during a summer in South America--a very fond memory for me of my early marriage. Jane Austen offers a delightful, intelligent, pleasant reading for the family living room. As I read this one, all I could think was, no, this version doesn't work the same way... too many intimate, sexual or politically-correct themes here. That is too bad. I know my review reflects my own personal experience with Jane Austen, but that is the beauty of customer reviews. They can't help being subjective. I wish McCall Smith would re-do it!
Let's start with the good. Alexander McCall Smith is a clever writer with a dry, but gentle style that lends itself well to the retelling of Emma. His wry observations about society and cultural differences are probably pretty close to what a modern-day Jane Austen would be like. I really loved the depth and humor he added to the characters of Mr. Woodhouse and Ms. Taylor, who were not much more than caricatures or props in the original novel. It took him a third of the book to set up and describe them and their relationship/family dynamic, whereas I think Austen disposed of the same story line in the first three paragraphs! I also thought McCall Smith did a good job translating the 18th century plots and character details to the 21st, preserving where appropriate and deftly changing things that needed to be changed without overdoing it. In that sense he really met the challenge of updating a beloved piece of literature from the past.
Where he went wrong, I think, was primarily... Read more
Just as Jane Austen did not give us a flawless heroine in her "Emma" neither does Alexander McCall Smith. These authors are 2 of my favorites so I was thrilled to learn McCall Smith had updated Austen's Emma. This Emma lives in our modern day who is a small town girl who worries over dinner parties, doesn't have a job, and drive a mini cooper. She is a budding interior designer with a germophobic and hypochrondriac father who is very wealthy. Her mother dies when she is young and she lives with her father just as in the original novel. In fact the characters remain somewhat the same characters as in the original.

This rewriting is well written and very enjoyable. In McCall Smith's version John Knightley is a fashion photographer who rides a Ducati; the Reverend Elton is a bore who specializes in Byzantine history; Frank Churchill lives in Australia; Jane Fairfax has graduated from Cambridge; and Harriet Smith had a donor dad and is saving her money to go on a... Read more
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