What if being dead, as in a door nail, wasn’t exactly the end?
Suppose with me for a moment, that we do, in fact, carry on without our bodies in tow–all of our memories, ideas, wishes, dreams get to come with us after we pass into the undiscovered country. As ghosts, we float about and see time move and human ingenuity progress so that we don’t recognize the world around us. Now, it is important to understand that we can’t talk to anyone without using up our ghostly energy, nor can they really see us…maybe, we decide to frighten a few trick or treaters at Halloween, but that’s about it on the haunting side.
Would this kind of existence be enough to sustain one of the greatest novelists (in my opinion)? Or would she go crazy?
In Jennifer Petkus’s novel, Jane Actually, she explores these very questions–what if the beloved Jane Austen’s ghost roams about and what if she still wants to write novels?
On this blog, we have discussed how Jane Austen may still exist somewhere. We have considered vampires, but the idea of Jane Austen as a ghost, in particular, fascinates me. There is, of course, the obvious questions–how would we know this Jane Austen? She died in the 19th century and has had numerous readers, writers of fan fiction, people who play dress up and romp about the English countryside pretending to be in one of her books. In fact, maybe, we know more about Jane Austen then Jane Austen herself.
How would Jane Austen prove that it is really her just in another form?
And thus, begins the lovely novel Jane Actually. So far, I have found the Jane character agreeable which my ideal Jane Austen would, of course, be polite and well-mannered even if she were dead. As a good Janeite, I would most certainly want her to finish those manuscripts that she never did whilst living. And even better if Jane Austen went on a book tour! I would totally have her sign every copy of every novel of hers I own because that would be the coolest thing ever. Then again, would it really be Jane Austen signing the book or an actor giving her a hand? (pun intended) Does the it still count? So many questions to be explored in Jane Actually!
But would we ever really know that we were talking to the real Jane Austen or just someone trying to pretend to be her? Discuss in the comment section below!