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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

McCall Smith Re-Creating Emma!

What a coincidence!

Soon after I had written about how Alexander McCall Smith was the modern counterpart of Jane Austen, I found out that none other than the man in question had been called out to rewrite Jane Austen’s Emma into a modern tale! The book will be part of the Austen Project, taken on by several significant modern writers, such as Joanna Trollope, who will be re-writing Sense and Sensibility.

Although, in principle, I’m hardly what you could call a fan of Jane Austen’s sequels, as I feel that it is hard to do justice to her genius, I was excited and relieved to hear that the best person for the job would be writing one of them. The book will be published this November.

Here is a blurb of his upcoming book (from

Emma Woodhouse's widowed father is an anxious man, obsessed with nutrition and the latest vitamins. He lives the life of a country gentleman in contemporary England, protectively raising his young daughters, Isabella and Emma. While Isabella grows into a young woman, marries a society photographer for Vogue at the age of 19 and gets down to the business of reproducing herself, Emma pursues a degree in interior design at university in Bath, and then returns to set up shop in her home village. With her educated eye for the coordination of pattern and colour, Emma thinks she can now judge what person would best be paired with another, and sets about matchmaking her young friend, Harriet, with various possible suitors. Little does she know she is not the only person encouraging romantic pairings in the village. As Emma's cupid-like curiosity about her neighbours, both young and old, moves her to uncover their deeper motives, she is forced to confront a few surprising truths about her own.

On his Facebook page, McCallSmith recently described the experience of writing Emma. He says that he enjoyed writing it but that it was a “real challenge…to portray Emma in such a way that we sympathised with her, while at the same time we saw through her interfering ways”. I urge you to check his Facebook page for some exciting snippets of his yet-to-be-published book! You can also follow the recent developments of the Austen Project on their Facebook page.

Are you familiar with Mr McCall Smith’s works and as excited as I am to get your hands on Emma?