Friday, October 30, 2009

pride and prejudice and zombies

I am the first to admit that I am a Pride and Prejudice purist. This novel by Jane Austen is my favorite book of all time. I scoff at movies that do not strictly follow the original dialogue, and I have mixed feelings about the many sequels, prequels, and concurrently set stories which take Pride and Prejudice in directions not sanctioned by Jane Austen herself.

That being said, I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Seth Grahame-Smith did a superb job of taking the exact words of Jane Austen and augmenting them with a tale of a mysterious disease overrunning the English countryside. True Pride and Prejudice fans will note that a good 75% of the book is in tact as Jane Austen wrote it. The differences are in certain plot points (London is surrounded by a wall to keep out the zombies, zombies attack anyone out traveling or walking, and certain characters are treated to untimely deaths instead of fading out of the narrative), and the replacing of key words within phrases to keep consistency with the plot.

My favorite technique of Grahame-Smith, though, is the way he created a new goal in life for Jane Austen's women. Instead of being prized for their accomplishments in music, languages, pose, and conversation, women as well as men are congratulated for the achievements in the deadly arts - swordplay, martial arts, gun use, and agility. All of the Bennet sisters studied in the Far East and were known around the country side not only for their beauty, but for their skill in protecting their neighbors from the zombie hordes. A true Austen fan will note the places where Grahame-Smith deftly changed certain phrases to accommodate his heroines' new hobbies.

As I said initially, I do not usually go for this type of alteration in the purity of Jane Austen's works, but I do suggest this book for purists and zombie fans alike. The addition of zombies does not take away too much of Jane Austen's style and voice, but it does add an element of action which many who have not enjoyed Austen in the past may find entertaining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eitan picked this for our book club a couple of months ago. I was surprised by how close it is to the original, although Eitan couldn't compare since he never read P&P. Loved the illustrations.

Michelle G.