Pride and Prejudice...and Zombies
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen's original Pride and Prejudice is sadly lacking in zombies. But have no fear! Seth Grahame-Smith has set things right with his recently published Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It has everything you loved about the original but now with zombies, mayhem, and of course, brains.
Let's get the things that I found less than wonderful out of the way first. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies suffers from the same affliction that most adaptations do - unevenness. When you are working with Austen's original works and then try to stick in new content that mimicks her writing style it rarely works really well. Trying to match the tone and structure of the original is very hard and kudos to those that try. That being said, I do think that Grahame-Smith did a tolerable job of it, especially when you consider he was sticking in new content about zombies.
But I have to confess that this wasn't quite the novel I was hoping it was going to be. I loved the idea of sticking zombies into the middle of the Darcy/Elizabeth love story but I was hoping for more. I was hoping for wit that would either match Austen's original style or that the entire book was rewritten in a way that I didn't care about the deviations. I wanted a zombified version that could go toe to toe with Christopher Moore's Fool, a retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. I spent much of the time wishing that Christopher Moore has written this (if ever there was an author that could work in a good balls joke it's him). I wanted a truly rewritten novel, not one that was just a wee bit rewritten with zombies stuck in where convenient. I think it was a great gimick that didn't live up to its potential and I can't help but wonder if it is because it sometimed seemed as if Grahame-Smith didn't love the original. I really wanted to love this zombie-filled version but I had to settle for "like" and "enjoy".
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I loved (loved!) Grahame-Smith's Lady Catherine. Seriously, we've all always thought that she was a barracuda that could kick some major ass if given the chance and voila! Grahame-Smith made it so. Ditto the fact that we always knew that Lizzie could totally kick butt, and do it with style.
I liked that Mrs. Bennett was just as silly as ever and just wanted her daughters to be married, not warriors. I liked Wickham's punishment. (Heh!) I think I much prefer Charlotte's reason for marrying Mr. Collins in this version than the original.
What's everyone saying about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Plenty.
Laurel Ann at Austenprose doesn't get what the big deal is. Jane Austen ate her brain years ago and she and her fellow Janeites have been "an Austen zombie ever since, attentively working away for 200 years for her cause in pursuit of more brains to initiate into the holy sect of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society." (Heh!)
So who will like this book? Certainly not the Austen purist without a sense of humor. They will not even get past the gruesome cover. Not zombie fans, who will be annoyed having to trudge through a masterpiece of world literature to get to the scant zombie action. So that leaves the rest of us. Those loyal and devoted members of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society who, like Jane Austen, enjoy a good campy and gory Gothic novel, recognize tongue-in-cheek humor, and have been happily doing so for over 200 hundred years.
Raych at Books I Done Read didn't think that it quite lived up to its potential (I have to agree).
Let's be honest, this idea had waaaaaaaay more potential, but it ends up being a bit gimicky. I mean, Elizabeth Bennet offering to slay anyone and everyone who offends her honor never gets old, but the incessant references to being whipped with wet bamboo does. So probably don't bother unless you were going to re-read P&P anyways, in which case, toss in some Z's for flavor.
Sara at the Book Nook Club said it was deliciously over the top.
What a sneaky way to get my teenage brother to appreciate some classic literature. Literary types and Zombie lovers alike should appreciate the spirit of this reinvention, if they don’t relish every word. I have never read anything like it, so I’m officially begging for a series of classic literature injected with Zombie mayhem.
Discussing what other classic books could be zombiefied has been a fun topic of conversation for the last couple of months. BlogHer member Elizabeth Willse offers up some books that could be improved by zombies. Personally I'm rooting for The Scarlet Pimpernel.