Friday, May 17, 2019

Book #69 - Persuasion (Jane Austen)

After a long day at work and a rainy commute home I'm drinking a snifter of Hennessy VSOP Privilege Cognac. I know almost nothing about cognac. It's a type of brandy, made in the Congac region of France, and Hennessy, founded by Irish immigrant Richard Hennessy, is the largest cognac producer in the world, with 40% of the market. No, I don't know that off the top of my head...that's why Google exists. Anyway, I don't have much experience with cognac, unlike with bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, etc. etc. but I have to say this glass is mighty tasty. The Hennessy website says the taste has "notes of apricots, apple, clove and cinnamon". For me I get notes of alcohol with a side of booze. It's good though...Jesus turned water into wine, and then Hennessy turned wine into cognac. Upward and onward. Anyway, my glass is almost empty and now I'm thinking I'll move on to a Tecate, which is pretty much the opposite of cognac, but the taste buds want what they want. Plus Tecate is the only beer I know of that has its own app, which they promote on their website. You know back in my day we didn't need a damn app to enjoy our beer! But that app discussion is a non-sequitur. And now for another non-sequitur: Jane Austen's "Persuasion".

Um. Yep, I said "Um". Let me explain: normally when I blog about a book I try to write my entry within a few days of finishing it. That way it's fresh in my mind, which seems to be less and less able to retain any thoughts that are more than a few days old. So when I say "Um", I'm really saying "WTF was that book about again?" Because dammit, I waited two months after finishing the book before sitting down with my booze to write this, and now I can't remember much about the book. A mind is a terrible thing. Anyway, I do remember the broad outline. Back in merry old England Anne Elliot is in her late 20s, single, and living with dad. Seven years ago she had a romance with Frederick Wentworth, a navy captain. They were briefly engaged, but because he was just a low ranking navy sailor at that time, and she was from the landed gentry, her family persuaded her to break off the engagement because the groom was not worthy. Also, she was just 19. Anyway, after seven years of no contact, they both move into the same neighborhood. During those seven years, her family has been slowly going broke, while Wentworth has become the well-compensated Captain Wentworth. They keep meeting up in humorous ways, and antics ensue, societal and emotional struggles ensue, and finally a reconciliation and new proposal ensue.

The fascinating thing about the Jane Austen novels I've read (this one, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma) is the rigid social structure and manners of 19th century England. It's such a foreign world from the one we live in in the United States today. There were so many times in this novel I thought "Oh come on, just be open and honest about your feelings" and then I remembered that was just not how they did things in those times. Makes me wonder if people 200 years from now will be reading novels of our day and age and thinking "These guys were idiots". Probably. Although I suspect they'll be saying that about what we did to the planet, rather than about David Foster Wallace's books.

Anyway, unfortunately that's all I've got. Well, except for the rest of this bottle of cognac...