Sense and Sensibility

adapted by Stacy King. illus. by Po Tse. 308p. (Manga Classics). Udon. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781927925638.
Gr 7 Up—Austen's tale of two sisters coping with the trials and tribulations of courtship in Regency England is the latest classic to receive a manga makeover. Upon the death of their father, Marianne, Elinor, and their younger sister and mother inherit nothing, and the primary heir, the girls' older half brother, provides them with merely a minimal income. Both sisters are initially unlucky in love—tenderhearted Marianne falls for the dashing but fickle Mr. Willoughby, while rational and stalwart Elinor begins to doubt Edward Ferrars's devotion—but all is put to right by the conclusion. King has necessarily condensed the story, and much of Austen's dryly humorous dialogue has ended up on the cutting-room floor. Still, though there's no replacement for the original, this is a wonderful edition to read alongside the classic. Even those unfamiliar with the author will quickly absorb the narrative and appreciate Austen's critiques of the institution of marriage and women's precarious position in society. Tse's artistic choices for bringing to life characters' personalities through visual cues are spot-on, and the illustrator expertly conveys drama through the characters' expressive countenances and the use of shading and imagery.
VERDICT For fans of Austen as well as newcomers. Those reading the original for the first time may wish to have this insightful adaptation by their side.

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