My favorite book of all time would have to be Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I own Pride and Prejudice in a new Israeli translation that is supposed to be very good-- my theory being that since I can open up Pride and Prejudice to any page and understand what is going on, I can probably read it in Hebrew. I'll admit that it's a bit weird for me when Mrs. Bennet says "Oy, nachon!" Still, I actually love reading this book in Hebrew because lines jump out at me (when I'm reading at a rate of about 20 minutes a page) that I don't notice in the English version... in some ways it's like reading the book again for the first time.
At any rate, the translator of Pride and Prejudice, Irit Linor, recently wrote the script for a new mini-series on Israeli TV: Ma SheNachutz LeRavak, based on Pride and Prejudice! So obviously, I'm there. The first episode aired this week, and it was actually pretty good-- Fitzwilliam Darcy is now Nimrod Artzi, a multi-millionaire from Tel Aviv traveling up to an upscale tsimmer (a kind of bed-and-breakfast) in northern Israel for a weekend with his friend, Ben-Gal, and their respective sisters. (I think someone had fun coming up with those names.) Jane and Elizabeth are Anat and Elona, two divorced sisters who appear to be more thirty-something than twenty-something.
So far I most enjoy the characterizations of Bingley, Darcy, Bingley's sister, and Lydia-- who is recast as Elizabeth's daughter, born when Elizabeth was very young and entered into a disastrous marriage. Altogether, it's a little disconcerting but very clever. Elizabeth and Jane are recast as divorcees-- Elona (Elizabeth) years out from a terrible young marriage, Anat (Jane) newly divorced and devastated. Their mother, played by a famous Israeli actress whose name I forget but who looks eerily like my ulpan teacher, is cast and acted perfectly. It's a lot of fun to see how an Israeli Jane Austen fan re-imagines the novel to fit modern Israeli society!
Here's the trailer, if you're interested:
And yes, the word "sex" is repeated about seven times in this trailer. If you want to read a straight translation of the novel, read the book. Irit takes more liberties in the mini-series. :)
This made me think, though. If you would recast Pride and Prejudice in Israeli society... or any society, really... where would you set it? I've always thought that the orthodox community is most like the world portrayed in Jane Austen, especially given the shidduch system of match-making and the pressure to settle down and get married. My husband observed yesterday that maybe the reason I like the new show Srugim so much, which is about a group of young modern Orthodox singles in Jerusalem, is that it reminds me of Jane Austen. Maybe!