Following our somewhat belated Clubland Q&A and the Thursday rerun of the Serenade Radio edition of Steyn's Song of the Week, here we go with Episode Nineteen of our current Tale for Our Time - Jane Austen's first completed novel Northanger Abbey. Larry Durham, a South Carolina member of The Mark Steyn Club, is quite enjoying it:
Being a member since only January, I had a lot of catching up to do with past Tales. I have to say that Austen has been a pleasant listen - and came at a good time after a steady diet of Wells, Kafka, Orwell, Gogol and London backdropped by the reality of our own dystopia.
Man cannot live on dystopic fiction alone, Larry, so we try to offer a varied diet.
On the other hand, in tonight's episode, our heroine, who has been pining for something less "pleasant" and more dramatic, is somewhat disappointed by the secret manuscript she has uncovered:
Could it be possible, or did not her senses play her false? An inventory of linen, in coarse and modern characters, seemed all that was before her! If the evidence of sight might be trusted, she held a washing-bill in her hand. She seized another sheet, and saw the same articles with little variation; a third, a fourth, and a fifth presented nothing new. Shirts, stockings, cravats, and waistcoats faced her in each. Two others, penned by the same hand, marked an expenditure scarcely more interesting, in letters, hair-powder, shoe-string, and breeches-ball. And the larger sheet, which had enclosed the rest, seemed by its first cramp line, "To poultice chestnut mare"—a farrier's bill!
Such was the collection of papers ...which had filled her with expectation and alarm, and robbed her of half her night's rest! She felt humbled to the dust.
We're now in our fifth season of Tales for Our Time and have built up quite an archive. So, if you've a chum who's a fan of classic fiction in audio form, don't forget our Mark Steyn Club gift membership. Oh, and please join me tomorrow for Part Twenty of Northanger Abbey.