Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fanfiction: Jane

JANE - a novel by April Lindner
April Lindner's Jane is a legal fanfiction AU (alternate universe) of Bronte's Jane Eyre, with Jane as a freshman in college left penniless while Rochester is a wild rock star planning his comeback tour. Although Lindner's Jane doesn't have quite the fire of Bronte's, the story still works for me as a thoughtful homage placing many of the same themes in our modern world.

Lindner skips most of Jane's childhood, choosing rather to start as Jane leaves college to find work as a nanny. Her cultural blinders help her -- Rathburn has specifically requested someone who is not a fan. From here on the parallels to the original keep right on track -- the kindly housekeeper, the sweet child with French interests, the strange drunken woman on the forbidden third floor, even the Bianca woman making a play for Rathburn.  A few differences appear -- there is no question that the child is Rathburn's, Jane's uncaring relatives are her siblings, not her cousins, and the saintly St. Johns are not distant relatives.  These were fun to read as I wondered how Lindner would echo the plot; the celebrity rock star status works well as a social divide, and there's a subtle difference in the ploys of a successful photographer (modern Bianca) versus a marriageable heiress (real Bianca).

It's a fun experiment for fans of Jane Eyre, although clearly there isn't much suspense since we know how the story will go. Apparently Lindner is now writing an homage to Wuthering Heights, which isn't quite as tempting since I didn't really like the original. On the other, she did interesting things with Jane Eyre...

I wonder if this counts as literary fiction? It takes place in Connecticut, which I need for my Where Are You Reading challenge.

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