Deborah Yaffe

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By Deborah Yaffe, Nov 16 2017 02:00PM

As I’ve noted before, the Indian subcontinent has a curious affinity for the works of Jane Austen. (The Economist's current online issue has a fascinating look at the reasons why.) No surprise, then, that one of this year’s most intriguing Austen spinoff books hails from Pakistan. Its title could almost serve as a metaphor for the subcontinent’s Austen cult: Austenistan.


The book, subtitled The World’s Favourite Author Goes to Pakistan, consists of seven Austen-inspired short stories – fanfics that transplant Austen characters or situations to the world of affluent contemporary Pakistanis. Journalist and writer Laaleen Sukhera, the founder of the Jane Austen Society of Pakistan, edited the collection. (Read an interesting interview with her here.)


Historically, Jane Austen fanfic – at least the published kind -- has been an Anglo-American affair. I can’t wait to experience a non-Western spin on the genre.


But it looks like I’ll have to restrain my impatience. Although the book will be published in Pakistan next month by Bloomsbury India, with a British release planned for next year, I can’t find mention of an American edition. Austenistan is not yet listed on American or British Amazon, and my efforts to pre-order it through Amazon’s India site were unsuccessful: apparently, international shipping isn’t available for this title. Grr. Something else to hope for in the new year.


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