What we leave behind: a novel
Jane Austen’s enduring popularity is no accident. Her books are filled to the brim with relatable, lovable characters, realistic situations and interactions, and insightful commentary and criticism of Regency England. Many of those criticisms and observations are still applicable today, and it is this universality and timelessness of Jane Austen’s work that this project is meant to bring out. By adapting Austen’s final novel, Persuasion, to take place in the American Midwest just after the Vietnam War, What We Leave Behind: A Novel shows the reader how the world of Jane Austen’s characters is not so far removed from the modern era as he or she may like to think and how history does, in fact, tend to repeat itself. It also explores themes of alienation, racism, the treatment of Vietnam veterans, and the struggles of deindustrialization, all of which relate to the themes which Austen touched on but are also, within What We Leave Behind, somewhat unique to the time and place in which this adaptation is set.