Popping up on various summer-reading lists Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Funnily enough one of the major things to be overcome here is prejudice against anyone daring to rewrite such a beloved classic. Sittenfeld is a good writer (I loved her first book, Prep and quite enjoyed Sisterland) and here she just about pulls off the retelling. But only just, the writing doesn’t feel nearly sharp or incisive enough. Part of the pleasure lies in a compare and contrast with the original – how does a character like, say, Mr Collins transpose to the present day? Sittenfeld makes him a gauche Internet start-up millionaire, but the comic genius of Austen's original is firmly lost in the translation. Some characters remain reasonably faithful to their originals (letter-writing Elizabeth becomes a journalist, Darcy an arrogant neurosurgeon, Mr Bennet a man who shuts himself up in his study while the family finances collapse around him) while others, bewilderingly, don’t (Darcy’s sister Georgiana, Wickham). For me the book was at its best when it went off script allowing Sittenfeld to do what she’s really good at, invent (the spider infestation of the family home, the cult of cross-fit). But the unevenness of tone bothered me, and call me prudish but I thought there was way too much sex. It felt uncomfortably like fan-fiction; let’s explore what it might have been like if Darcy and Elizabeth had pre-marital sex without actually seeing if the plot warrants it. It's all mildly enjoyable but no more than that. In a pernicious bit of marketing the subtitle of this book on Amazon is 'the book of the summer', an accolade I'm not at all sure it has earned.