Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I wasn't sure about this one at first.

It wasn't the concept, which delighted me, nor the cover, which, while gruesome, is absolutely perfect. It was the fact that it wasn't a complete rewrite: Grahame-Smith had the temerity to leave a lot of Austen's words in, intact, which sets him the daunting task of matching his skills against one of the masters, and I didn't think he was up to it.

He isn't, not all of the time. Early on, I found the conversational revisions jarring; instead of insulting one another in subtle, overtly polite ways, people were downright rude in a very modern fashion. I almost gave up.

But when it works, it works very well: The scenes where Austen's text is left pretty much alone and contrasted with the zombie mayhem are marvelous fun. My favorite occurs when Elizabeth visits Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the latter goes into the familiar examination of household minutia while apparently oblivious to the fact that Charlotte is slowly turning into a zombie.

And the discussion questions are hilarious.

A book for the ages? Probably not--but then, no one at all is expeccting it to be, so that hardly matters. Fun? Definitely!

Am I looking forward to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters? Oh yes.

And Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer? Oh, I'll give it a try.

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