I consider myself a well-read, liberally educated man. Few authors have sunk so low in my esteem that I have stricken them from consideration when selecting a book to read. I like to read. I have respect for authors who have suffered the painstaking ordeal of writing a novel. In the vast majority of cases authors deserve a measure of respect for accomplishing that much. Jane Austen is not one of these authors. I know, I know. She’s amazingly popular. Her skills as a writer are transcendent. Her social commentary is sublime; her irony is dramatic, bitter and pointed — all at the same time (something Alanis Morissette was never quite capable of pulling off I’m sad to say). I don’t like Jane Austen books. I don’t. I don’t care for her writing. I don’t like Jane Austen books. So, aside from a compulsory reading assignment in school the only way you would ever entice me to pick up a Jane Austen novel would be to put zombies in it.
And sure enough, that’s exactly what Seth Grahame-Smith has done. Pride and Prejudice is part of the public domain, so Grahame-Smith took the text and intercut it with a contemporary zombie story that would make George Romero proud. The end product: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In an interview Grahame-Smith explains, “You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides here and there … It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence.”
It’s October. That means Halloween and spooky things. There are new horror movies to see — including at least two zombie movies: Zombieland and Survival of the Dead. So I’m going to read a
Jane Austen zombie book. Yes. A zombie book!
From the back cover:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton — and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers — and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.