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.

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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

Cheap plot "twist" drags the whole thing down

I thought this book was pretty all right for a while. I liked the modern equivalents of some characters, though others were a bit one-note and lacking. The central romance of the book did feel pretty meh, lacking some of the chemistry of the original, but it wasn't the worst.

What WAS the worst was the "climactic reveal". For readers of the original novel, this was the equivalent point of Lydia running off with Wickham. To modernize the whole thing, the author thinks it's a great idea to have the conflict revolve around a character being transgender.

From there it just spirals down into a repulsive mess, characters either being disgustingly ignorant or (even worse) patting themselves and each other on the back for how progressive they are. Meanwhile, the trans character himself is given no personality or character whatsoever, given that he's just there to be a plot point rather than a person. And since the character has very little connection outside of this one fact, it misses all the real interpersonal drama that had been such a huge part of the original.

I had actually been looking forward to getting to this part of the book, wondering what the modern equivalent would be, and literally any idea I had come up with would have been better than this insulting trash.
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- Mandy Q

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

Book Details

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