Posted by: tuulenhaiven | May 13, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Zombiesby Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I have never read a continuation of or a retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen until now, although there are plenty of them out there. To me the story was always perfect the way it was. However, I am horrified to admit that when I found out about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I thought it was the funniest concept I had heard of in a long time. Some kid with too much time on his hands had taken the original text of Jane Austen’s novel, and inserted “ultraviolent zombie mayhem”. Something about the image of Elizabeth Bennet hitching up her skirts and whopping a zombie’s head off possessed me to buy a copy of the book, as well as one of the original (which oddly enough I didn’t have yet).

I started both books simultaneously, comparing them chapter to chapter. It first that was highly entertaining. The first line immediately made me laugh out loud:

‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.’

In Seth Grahame-Smith’s version a large portion of the text is the same as Austen’s, although it is slightly abridged. Some of his allusions to the strange plague that has spread across England are just in passing; for instance when Jane goes alone on horseback to Netherfield park, it’s not just the threat of rain, but the far more dangerous threat of a zombie attack that worries Elizabeth. Often Grahame-Smith is less subtle, as when the next day Elizabeth in turn walks to Netherfield, and actually has to dispatch several zombies. Balls and cozy gatherings are disrupted by zombie attacks, and the Bennet girls spend large parts of every day training and honing their considerable skills in zombie warfare. Of course, when they marry they will have to give up fighting, but until then the Bennet girls are known around that part of the country not only for their beauty, but their skill with the blade! And of course Mr. Darcy has slaughtered thousands of ‘unmentionables’.

I soon gave up reading the original Pride and Prejudice, because as always I was getting entirely caught up in Austen’s lovely writing. Switching over to Grahame-Smith’s zombified work was annoying because of the repetition, and the additional events seemed quite jarring. It was apparent after a few chapters how the book was going to work, so setting Austen aside I succumbed entirely to Grahame-Smith.

Overall it was a very silly book, one that made me giggle incredulously, roll my eyes, and laugh out loud. The scene where Darcy first proposes to Elizabeth had me snickering most inappropriately, as their fiery exchange was accompanied by furious kicks and jabbings of the fire poker and stumbles into the corner of the mantle. Several scenes made me squeal, “Gross!!” and then of course grin horribly.

Although I enjoyed this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, oddly enough it hasn’t increased my interest in reading any others. In fact I am even less interested. The story is still perfect the way it is. Certainly if zombies can’t make it a more entertaining book, nothing else could, and for me, now that my curiosity is satisfied, I can happily do without the ‘unmentionables’!


Responses

  1. What a great review! I’m one of those not at all tempted to try this one out. Like you, I have never read a continuation or retelling of P&P. The reason why I won’t be reading this is because I have no interest in zombies, lol.

  2. Zombies are not usually my cup of tea either, but every now and then you have to branch out, right? Haha. Right.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’ve read the zombie version and thought it most entertaining. Very satirical and definitely not to be taken seriously. But that’s really the whole point of it. Definitely for lovers of zombies, ninjas, kung-fu showdowns and female contemporary characters reminiscent of Buffy and Beatrix Kiddo.

  4. Deta Von, I agree on all points! Super fun read. 🙂

  5. […] so, there are a few zombie-related stories that I have enjoyed – I giggled my way through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the movie Zombieland was quite fun (I’ve been meaning to watch it […]


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