Eligible : The Austen Project

  • by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • Series: The Austen Project
  • 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the "wickedly entertaining" (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times best-selling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Equal parts homage to Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the 21st century.
This version of the Bennet family - and Mr. Darcy - is one that you have and haven't met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late 30s who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help - and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling, and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master's degree and barely leaves her room except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won't discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane's 40th birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip's friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming....
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen's beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.


What the Critics Say

"Narrator Cassandra Campbell's lively narration complements Sittenfeld's sharply observed and witty updates. She voices Darcy, now an accomplished, if snobby, neurosurgeon, in a dry and understated style, contrasting him beautifully with the often exasperated and indignant Liz, a magazine writer. Especially notable is Campbell's handling of party scenes, in which the five Bennet sisters and assorted other characters interact in rapid-fire dialogue. To Campbell's credit, each character remains clearly distinguishable through subtle vocal variations. Sittenfeld's retelling is smart and funny, and Campbell's performance highlights the novel's many strengths." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Don't read if you're attached to the original characters

If you're someone who loves the Bennett girls, mainly Elizabeth and Jane, don't read this book. The portrayal is not one that is flattering to either. But the book was okay. I read the entire thing, and even though I know the story of Liz and Darcy backwards and forwards, I wanted to know what happened.
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- kherrington

Lively and Fun

Updates, sequels, and revisions of "Pride and Prejudice" and other Jane Austen's works are almost never successful. Her tone and the mixture of hilarity and vitriol are very difficult to replicate.

Good news here is that "Eligible" just about achieves the task! Especially effective are the new American locations, the flow of the witty dialogue, and the older ages of the Bennett girls. I like the updated, yet true-to-Austen characters. When patronized by a nurse's fake and cheerful "How are we today, Fred?", and ailing Mr. Bennett replies, "Bernard, we're mourning the death of manners and the rise of overly-familiar discourse. How are you?"

I can't give it five stars, as there are weaknesses: the book is too long, and the device of using a reality-TV tie-in is overdone. But, on the whole, one can imagine Jane herself (after the shock of the frank language and want of, uh, "delicacy") would appreciate this homage.

Cassandra Campbell is a good narrator for "Eligible". She avoids the temptation to be too arch or too, too precious in the performance. From other reviews, I am aware that a number of people did not like this. But I'm pretty picky about attempts to copy Austen, and I liked it.

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- C. Telfair

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-19-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio