Washington Post book reviewer Michael Dirda: Friend of Jane


The transcript of an online chat with Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda includes some biographical information in which Jane Austen is included in a list of Mr. Dirda’s favorite authors. The chat also includes a comparison of Diane Johnson, author of L’Affaire, with Jane.

Washington, D.C.: Hi Michael — Following your suggestion to “read at whim,” I recently picked up a book by Diane Johnson at the local library. It’s called “L’Affaire,” and I’m finding it quite good. If I remember correctly, you have reviewed at least one of Johnson’s books. What do you think of her work? (One of the blurbs on the back of this book calls her a cross between Jane Austen and Henry James).

Michael Dirda: I reviewed . . . L’Affaire. It’s fun, very Gallic (wait till you reach the end), and well written. Austen-James is a fairly good description, though Johnson isn’t on that level by any means. She’s that rare thing–a very good, serious and honorable pouplar writer. Think John Marquand in the past.

We have no clue as to whether the comparison is apt. 🙂