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Since its publication this past April, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has gotten readers-including Jane Austen fans-talking. The novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, an altered zombie version of the famous Jane Austen novel “Pride and Prejudice,” has risen to No. 3 on the New York Times bestseller list and already has a movie in the works.
The novel includes all the same characters and inherent plot-line, with a twist. A plague troubles the English countryside during the 19th-century causing dead people to become zombies and infect those living. The Bennet family protects themselves from the “undead” by highly training all five daughters in martial arts and weaponry, and Mrs. Bennet continues to be concerned with marrying them off.
Elizabeth Bennet-also the female protagonist in the original novel-masters the art of zombie combat and remains strong-willed while the famous Mr. Darcy continues to appear completely arrogant and proud and also happens to be well-trained at zombie killing. They have bad first impressions of each other, but eventually discover that there is more to one another than meets the eye and that they have a lot in common.
Austen fans may be hesitant to pick up the book believing it has desecrated a masterpiece. While certain parts of the novel have changed to adapt to the zombie plot-line, Jane Austen’s voice and style of diction remain. After all, both Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith are listed as authors on the cover. The parts that Austen intended to be comical continue to be comical, and the parts Austen intended to be tragic continue to be tragic.
The novel may even attract those who have never read an Austen novel. By itself, the adapted novel stands as an interesting piece of zombie fiction with two compelling protagonists who fall in love and are determined on vanquishing every “undead” person in their paths. Perhaps by reading this novel, readers may be interested in knowing what inspired the novel and pick up an original Jane Austen book.
With the sudden popularity of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” the same author and company are also publishing “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” Sept. 15.
Who would have thought that supernatural creatures and Jane Austen would make such a compatible team?
Published: September 18, 2009 – Volume 8 – Issue 22