We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

Finishing books: Jhabvala and Trollope · 9 March 05

My dear Fanny,

My idea of listing all the books I really read through to the end is having the effect of making me feel a wee bit better about myself. I had been thinking that I hardly ever finish a book. I find I finish enough that it feels a wee bit embarrassing to list them.

I should not feel this way. I spend my life among books and pictures—I’d tell you about my love of pictures, Fanny, but we don’t have any way to put them up on this blog. Jim spends his life amid beautiful music and doesn’t complain he can’t put it on the blog either—showing us how silly it is to complain.

So early this week I finished a close reading and analysis of

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s East into Upper East. Over the past year I’ve read her Heat and Dust, A Backward Place and most of the stories from Out of India (not all). Even better—or just as good—I’ve read Laurie Sucher’s brilliant book on her in the context of feminist and woman-centered art: The Fiction of Ruth Prawyer Jhabvala. If I hadn’t noticed it everywhere already, Yasmine Gooneratne’s Silence, Exile, and Cunning: The Fiction of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala convinced me how close in feel, use of archetype and point of view is the subtle art of Jhabvala to Austen.

Another serious modern successor to Austen is Anne Tyler whose Amateur Marriage I finished this past fall. Tears came to my eyes as I reached the end where the husband feels lonely for his wife and looks forward to death where he dreams they will meet again. She may have committed suicide because she drove him to leave her.

Fran K from my WW list recommended the film adaptation of The Remains of the Day which I saw and found poignant. Films are moving pictures :)

I hope to put my postings on East into Upper East on my website when I finish putting up the postings on Suzy McKee Charnas’s The Vampire Tapestry. For this section of my website, and lovely lovely pictures by Helen Allingham, see



The other book I read slowly through this past winter season has
been Anthony Trollope’s The Three Clerks, an intriguing solid book. For this Fanny my dear you must to to Trollope-l.


Posted by: Ellen

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