Cover image for Eligible : a novel
Title:
Eligible : a novel
Author:
Sittenfeld, Curtis.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2016]

©2016
Physical Description:
492 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice"--Jacket.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781400068326

9780812980349
Format :
Book

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On Order

Summary

Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice . Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

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 thirties 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 fortieth 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.

Praise for  Eligible

"Even the most ardent Austenite will soon find herself seduced." -- O: The Oprah Magazine

"Blissful . . . Sittenfeld modernizes the classic in such a stylish, witty way you'd guess even Jane Austen would be pleased." -- People (book of the week)

"[A] sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling." -- Entertainment Weekly

"A clever, uproarious evolution of Austen's story." -- The Denver Post

"If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it. . . . Sittenfeld makes an already irresistible story even more beguiling and charming." -- Elle

"Sittenfeld is an obvious choice to re-create Jane Austen's comedy of manners. [She] is a master at dissecting social norms to reveal the truths of human nature underneath." --The Millions

"A hugely entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable book, bursting with wit and charm." -- The Irish Times

"A delightful romp for not only Austen devotees but also lovers of romantic comedies and sly satire, as well . . . Bestselling Sittenfeld plus Jane Austen? What more could mainstream fiction readers ask for?" -- Booklist (starred review)

"Endlessly amusing . . . Her take on Austen's iconic characters is skillful, her pacing excellent, and her dialog highly entertaining. . . . Austen fans will adore this new offering, a wonderful addition to the genre." -- Library Journal

"An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic." -- PopSugar

"Sittenfeld adeptly updates and channels Austen's narrative voice--the book is full of smart observations on gender and money. . . . A clever retelling of an old-fashioned favorite." --Publishers Weekly

"The modernization of this classic story allows for a greater and more humorous range of incompetency and quirks. . . . Delight in this tale for its hilarious and endearing family drama." -- Kirkus Reviews


Author Notes

Elizabeth Curtis Sittenfeld was born August 23, 1975 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an American writer. Her titles include: Prep, the tale of a Massachusetts prep school; The Man of My Dreams, a coming-of-age novel and an examination of romantic love; and American Wife, a fictional story loosely based on the life of First Lady Laura Bush.

Sittenfeld attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, before transferring to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At Stanford, she studied Creative Writing. At the time, she was also chosen as one of Glamour magazine's College Women of the Year. She earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. In 2018 she made the bestseller list with her title, You Think It, I'll Say It.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Sittenfeld (Sisterland, 2013) transplants the beloved characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from nineteenth-century Regency England to contemporary Cincinnati, Ohio, in this fun, frothy modernization. The Bennet family has similarly fallen on hard times here, thanks to exorbitant medical bills, reckless spending, and the perpetual underemployment of four of the five Bennet daughters. Liz Bennet, the only one holding down a regular job, as a magazine writer, and her older sister, Jane, rush home from New York after their father has heart surgery. Jane is approaching 40 and has decided to have a child on her own, while Liz is pining for Jasper Wick, the feckless married man with whom she's been having an affair. But the two are soon embroiled in new romances. Jane falls for Chip Bingley, a dashing ER doctor who once searched for a wife on a reality show, while Liz fends off the affections of her step-cousin and finds a novel way to channel her feelings of loathing for the elitist but devastatingly handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy. Sittenfeld has updated some of the characters and story lines to better fit a contemporary setting, but her charming retelling is a delightful romp for not only Austen devotees but lovers of romantic comedies and sly satire, as well. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Sittenfeld plus Jane Austen? What more could mainstream fiction readers ask for? Eligible will be supported by a sweeping, many-faceted media campaign and an author tour.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2016 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

In Sittenfeld's amusing modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bennet writes for a women's magazine, Jane Bennet teaches yoga, Lydia and Kitty Bennet are CrossFit enthusiasts on paleo diets, heartthrob Chip Bingley is a reality-TV star, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is a neurosurgeon. Austen fans will recognize Liz and Darcy's instant dislike for each other, their serial misunderstandings and sexual tension, and Jane's quiet goodness, Bingley's sister's snobbishness, and Darcy's sister's vulnerability. Sittenfeld adeptly updates and channels Austen's narrative voice-the book is full of smart observations on gender and money. Reader Campbell handles the large cast of characters with ease, deftly portraying different personalities with different voices, most memorably the catty Caroline Bingley, the dryly sardonic Darcy, and the flustered, melodramatic Mrs. Bennet. This audiobook is a fun addition to the growing canon of P&P-inspired fiction, perfect for summer beach listening. A Random House hardcover. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Sittenfeld's (Sisterland) latest is a delightful present-day adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As in the original, the author demonstrates how doing what is "proper" often culminates in hurt feelings, misunderstandings, miscues, and general hilarity. Sittenfeld is relatively faithful to Austen's plot, characterization, and themes, updating them to 21st-century problems, social issues, and possibilities. Liz Bennet is a New York writer who comes home to Cincinnati to help out when her father is ill, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is a local neurosurgeon. Cincinnati and the family home are integral characters here, younger sisters Lydia and Kitty are obsessed with their CrossFit workouts, and Chip Bingley is moderately famous for his stint on the reality dating program Eligible. Consummate narrator Cassandra Campbell is especially gifted in performing the biting dialog between Liz and Darcy, though she enlivens all of the varied voices. -VERDICT A great listen! Will be loved by Austen fans as well as those who gravitate to charming, funny contemporary fiction. ["Austen fans will adore this new offering, a wonderful addition to the genre": LJ 2/15/16 review of the Random hc.]-Sandra C. Clariday, formerly with Tennessee Wesleyan Coll. Lib., Athens © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

With her latest, Sittenfeld has crafted an entertaining modern update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though one that at times strains credulity. Like their Regency counterparts, the 21st-century Bennets are approaching crisis-potential financial ruin as a result of Mr. Bennet's heart attack-but are blissfully oblivious. To put things right, Liz, a successful magazine writer, and Jane, a yoga teacher contemplating artificial insemination, return from New York City to the family home in Ohio. When Chip Bingley, the former star of a Bachelor-esque show and still single, enters the scene with his arrogant sister Caroline and the seemingly pompous Fitzwilliam Darcy in tow, it's clear that romance is on the horizon. While the story is compulsively readable, the pop culture references make it unwieldy at times. As always, Sittenfeld soars when it comes to portraying relationships, and teens will particularly enjoy the witty barbs that fly between Caroline and Liz. Often, however, the author's attempts to hew closely to Austen's plot result in some odd choices. Where in the original, Mrs. Bennet's desire to marry Lizzy off to the unctuous Mr. Collins stemmed from understandable motives, here, her insistence that Liz become involved with her cousin, a socially inept dotcom millionaire, is downright bizarre. Nevertheless, this is an overall breezy read that will have savvy teens laughing. VERDICT Although this work doesn't hold up under close scrutiny, it's an utterly engrossing, hilariously over-the-top send-up that will appeal to Sittenfeld fans, Janeites, and lovers of chick lit.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 11   "YOUR MOTHER HAS shared a tragic piece of news about Cousin Willie with me," Mr. Bennet said when the family was assembled for dinner. "He's coming to visit." "Really, Fred," Mrs. Bennet said, and Jane said, "Dad, that's an awful way to set us up." Mr. Bennet smiled as if he'd been doubly complimented. "As you all know, my sister is flying out next week, to check if I still have a pulse and, in the event that I don't, to take possession of our mother's silver. For reasons that elude me, her stepson has decided to accompany her." Liz swallowed a spoonful of the gazpacho Jane had prepared and said, "I know you all find this hard to believe, but Cousin Willie is kind of a big deal." "And if I were an insomniac," Mr. Bennet replied, "I'd like nothing better than to hear him explain why." "Maybe he can tell us why the Internet in this house is so slow," Kitty said.  "Or teach Mom to use her cellphone," Lydia suggested. "His start-ups have made millions of dollars," Liz said, and Mr. Bennet said, "Yet he doesn't know how to put on a pair of trousers." "That was 1986," Jane said. Which indeed it had been--the summer before Liz had started sixth grade, the Bennets had made a trip to California to visit Mr. Ben- net's sister, Margo, and to meet the man to whom she had just become engaged, a widower with a three-year-old son. Someone (Mr. and Mrs. Bennet each vehemently denied responsibility) had decided it would be a lark to make the journey by car. Thus the Bennet family had set out from Cincinnati in their minivan, driving roughly five hundred miles a day for five days in a row; at the time, Jane was twelve, Liz eleven, Mary three, Kitty in utero, and Lydia not yet conceived. In Liz's memory, the trip was a blur of rolling hills becoming flattened prairies, flattened prairies becoming sprawling ranchlands, and ranchlands becoming scrubby desert. In Utah, a detour to see the red rock region had been scuttled due to increasing familial tensions; the mini-van's backseats had become a mayhem of hair-pulling, girl farts, and toddler squalls that distracted Liz from her powerful wish to reach the end of the tawdry romance she was reading in which a brooding Cheyenne loner inserted his fingers into the most private cavity of a young British heiress while they rode upon the same horse. Liz's utter thrall to Colt and Jocelyn's story compelled her to ignore a building nausea that eventually asserted itself with her crying out, "I'm going to be sick!" and vomiting an Egg McMuffin, hash browns, and ketchup onto Mary fifty miles northeast of Sacramento. Liz did sometimes wonder if their relationship had ever properly recovered, and insofar as it hadn't, she couldn't blame her sister. By the time the Bennets pulled into the driveway of the home be- longing to Aunt Margo's new fiancé in Sausalito, the minivan was strewn with food wrappers and socks and discarded Mad Libs books, not only reeking of vomit but also making an unaccountable scraping noise on the rear right side of the undercarriage; the Bennets' antipathy for one another was of such an intimate variety it was almost like affection. They spilled out of the car and walked up the brick path of a well-tended bungalow, but before they could ring the bell, the front door opened and a small red-haired boy stood before them completely naked. "Dad!" the boy yelled. "They're here!" His limbs were alabaster, his penis minuscule and, particularly to Mary, bewildering. "Look away, girls!" Mrs. Bennet cried, prompting in Liz and Jane a fit of giggles. This was Cousin Willie and also, obviously, Cousin Willie's willy. Over the years, the Bennets and the Collinses saw one another in- termittently, and at some point it became apparent that Cousin Willie was a bit of a technology savant. He taught himself to code at thirteen, began advising local businesses on how to bolster their Web presences at fifteen, and dropped out of UCLA during his sophomore year, after selling a company that had developed a proprietary format for transmitting data between servers and Web applications--which was to say, a company no Bennet understood whatsoever--for a rumored $20 million. Now a man of thirty, Willie was running his third or fourth software development start-up. And yet all of the Bennets except Liz and her mother refused to see him as anything other than a naked three-year-old. Mrs. Bennet was clearly intrigued by his money and had once asked Liz a series of probing questions about how he'd received the payment for his first company, questions to which Liz didn't know the answers. And Liz herself had some years back run into Willie at a technology conference in Las Vegas that she was attending as a journalist and had shared a surprisingly pleasant lunch with him; although the conversation had essentially been a monologue on his part, it had been an interesting monologue, and he was the person who had first told her about Twitter. At the dinner table, Mrs. Bennet said, "Jane, I imagine you'll be busy with Chip Bingley, but Liz can entertain Willie when he's here." "Why will Jane be busy with Chip Bingley?" Kitty asked. With relish, Mrs. Bennet said, "They're having dinner tomorrow night at Orchids." Uncertainly, Jane said, "Mom, you haven't been reading my texts, have you?" Merrily, Lydia said, "She doesn't know how!" Mrs. Bennet appeared uncontrite. "Helen Lucas mentioned it." Jane furrowed her eyebrows, which for her reflected genuine pique. "How would Mrs. Lucas know?" Liz cleared her throat. "I think I told Charlotte. But just in passing." "Chip and I might never see each other again after Saturday." Jane's cheeks were flushed. "So please, can everyone not make a big deal out of this? Mom, I'll have plenty of time to spend with Cousin Willie." "It was obvious that Chip found you absolutely charming, Jane," Mrs. Bennet said. "And so he should have. But you'll have to ask why he didn't go into private practice. Working in an emergency room, he must see very unattractive people." Liz, who felt some responsibility for displeasing her sister, said, "I wonder if Willie is interested in visiting the Freedom Center." "Just so you all know, I have a paper due at the end of next week," Mary said. "I won't have much time for Willie or Aunt Margo." "That's so heartbreaking," Lydia said. "I wonder if they'll ever re- cover from the devastation." "Well, I look forward to seeing both of them," Jane said. From the head of the table, Mr. Bennet said, "That makes one of us."     From the book ELIGIBLE by Curtis Sittenfeld. Copyright © 2016 by Curtis Sittenfeld. Reprinted by arrangement with Random House, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.