Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith - Book Review

With approximately 85% of the original text intact, Seth Grahame-Smith's romping re-visioning of Jane Austen with a zombie plot hilariously exploits the potential for out of copyright texts to be reworked in imaginative ways.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has delicious illustrations and more incongruous elements than your average Austen fan could have nightmares about. I'm rather fond of Austen, so seeing her work transformed in this way makes me want to go back and read the original, which may not be entirely what is expected by S G-S. But no matter. Because with its excellent adapting of characters and sub-plots (poor Charlotte!) what he has done is make the manners and gender politics of the period come to life in a new and vivid way.

Unfortunately, any possible film of this text is unlikely to work, as I suspect that they will fail to take the original seriously enough to make this adaptation function as hilariously as the book succeeds. That is a real shame, since it is already possible to visualise Lizzie taking down the Japanese ninjas of Lady Catherine de Bough with elegant ease and the 'unmentionables' emerging from the soft ground to threaten the Bennet family.

I raced through this in a day and loved how many long passages were retained from the original but sat so easily in the midst of the zombie retelling. Very entertaining.

PS this blog post also includes one of the pages with an illustration. It really IS a real book!


Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...
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Anna Lowman (annawaits) said...

Thanks for that - I needed a good recommendation and I think I may just have found my next read... :)

chrissie_allen said...

Sounds fun. Having just finished reading the fab "Company of Liars" you gave me, I feel another good read coming on, this time with Zombies! Hurrah! Thanks Lisa.