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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

The Jane Austen Book Club

A meeting of The Jane Austen Book Club (Sony Pictures)

With major studio film versions of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Emma, Mansfield Park and a TV version of North Hangar Abbey, contemporary audiences have become at least superficially familiar with the 19th century author's work. So turning Karen Joy Fowler's novel The Jane Austen Book Club (opening Sept. 28 at Landmark's La Jolla Village Theatres) into a feature film seems like a no-brainer.

Fowler's novel has a simple premise: what if a group of contemporary women decided to tackle the collected works of Jane Austen for a book club and then discovered that their lives and relationships are looking surprisingly like those in Austen's novel. The structure allows the characters to reflect on Austen's work and consider what issues still resonate today and what issues she failed to even consider.