NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK)
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
“[Sittenfeld] is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity ten miles away. She’s the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened. . . . Not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted. . . . Sittenfeld writes so well—her sentences are so good and her story so satisfying. . . . As a reader, let me just say: Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition.”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review
“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
“A playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”—BuzzFeed
“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
“An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic.”—PopSugar
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy every vignette of Curtis Sittenfeld’s sharp-tongued riff on Pride and Prejudice. Eligible is the story of older sisters Jane and Liz Bennet, who return to their worse-for-wear Cincinnati home to help their father recuperate after a heart attack. A yoga instructor and magazine writer back in New York, Jane and Liz fall back into their roles as dutiful daughters—even humouring their meddlesome mother’s frantic attempts to marry them off. A former reality-TV star and a snobbish surgeon play the roles of love interests; our heroines’ freeloading, CrossFit-obsessed sisters and sardonic dad provide endless comic relief.
In Sittenfeld's modern version of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth 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 a neurosurgeon. Approaching 40, and definitely not virgins, Liz and Jane leave their jobs in New York to return to the old family house in Cincinnati after their father suffers a heart attack. Their mother, having watched contestants compete for Bingley's hand in marriage on Eligible, believes him to be a great catch for Jane. Her hopes for Liz rest with Silicon Valley tech doofus Willie Collins. 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. She contrasts contemporary crassness with Austenesque gentility, as when Liz and Darcy indulge in hate sex and Willie tries to French kiss Liz. No wonder Mr. Bennet laments the death of manners and the rise of overly familiar discourse. The further afield that Sittenfeld strays from Austen, the less compelling and less credible her story is, and the ending sags under the weight of a television-programmed finale. Overall a clever retelling of an old-fashioned favorite, Sittenfeld's latest offers amusing details and provocative choices but little of the penetrating insight into underlying values and personalities that makes the original inimitable.