No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010/04: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

"... Can there be any other opinion on the subject?"
"Yes, there can; for mine is totally different. Will you hear it?"
"Most willingly."
"You shall have it in a few words. Miss Bingley sees that her brother is in love with you, and wants him to marry Miss Darcy. I dare say she means to keep you from his attentions. Your honour demands she be slain." (p. 94: compare the original...)

Does what it says on the label, and rather better than I was expecting: it is a one-joke book (zombies! and ninjas!) but doesn't wholly vandalise the original. Yes, I can see Elizabeth Bennett as a fearsome swordswoman determined to avenge all and any slights; yes, this book does advance an original new theory for Jane's willingness to marry Mr Collins; yes, Lydia is a silly cow.

The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every zombie confirms my impression that God has abandoned us as punishment for the evils of people such as Miss Bingley. (p. 103)

I am, however, unimpressed with the blurb: "transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read." And slightly horrified at the prospect of anyone reading this without knowledge of the original. This is a proper Transformative Work, if a heavy-handed one, and what's the point of transformation if the audience doesn't know what's changed? (Clue: Jane Austen would not have included off-colour jokes about balls.)

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