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by Tammy Hepps

Jewish Jane Austen

A classic novel, reimagined

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen begins with a comedic negotiation between husband and wife about what share of his recently deceased father’s estate he should bestow upon his otherwise penniless stepmother and step-sisters. With The Three Weissmanns of Westport (FSG, $25), Catherine Schine brings this scene forward two hundred years, reenacted by a seventy-eight year old man and his young mistress discussing the terms of the divorce the husband will negotiate with his wife of forty-eight years. And thus Schine commences her own diverting yet trenchant observations of a present-day family of Jewish New Yorkers with the kind of knowing, alternately sympathetic and mocking detail expected of all Austen imitators.

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