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Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is surely the strangest work of fiction I've ever encountered. It's Austenverse AU fanfic. It's so obviously the product of an evening session over beers where the woman was saying how much she loved P&P and the man was saying, "You know what would improve that thing? Zombies, that's what." And a million-selling idea was born out of hilarity and irreverence. And it's not only successful in the marketplace, but surprisingly successful as a transformative work.

It has all the absurd glee of One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor and all the witty dialog and wordy length of Jane Austen. The re-author, Seth Grahame-Smith, does a good job of making the AU story go seamlessly into the style of the original. The blend of drawing-room wit and graphic beheadings works just because the re-author insists on it with such happy abandon. The characters refer politely to "the sad stricken" and "unmentionables," and only Miss Elizabeth Bennett calls them zombies. While she's slaying them.

Anyway, in case I'm not the very last person on my flist to read it, I recommend it. The audiobook is narrated by Katherine Kellgren, whose upper-class British accents are as nasty and sharp as Jane Austen's prose, and when she reverts from speaking like Mistah Daaaah-ceh to speaking like a zombie...Well, I'm still laughing.

I haven't finished it yet, but unless it goes seriously downhill in its second half, I think my recommendation will stand.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 3rd, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
Apparently there is/ will be a sequel to this. I haven't read it yet, although I am tempted. The cover's fantastic.

Jul. 3rd, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
I've heard rumors of a vampire version.

Seriously, the line between fanfic and mainstream is getting awfully blurry...
Jul. 12th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
I enjoyed it too, although more for the underlying idea than the execution. I like the serious social critique of Austen's original, and I think a more serious zombie apocalypse would've worked better. And possibly with less ninjas. Still a fun read, though, and now I want Jane Eyre with zombies.
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
I just finished listening to the audiobook about an hour ago. I can't quite decide what I think of it. I enjoyed it from start to finish, and even though of course it shares the novelistic flaws of its source (i.e., it drags terribly at the end, it doesn't seem right to criticize it--or the original--on those grounds. Novels two hundred years ago were a very different animal.

All in all, I think Grahame-Smith did an amazing job with a madly brilliant idea, inserting a wildly divergent notion into a classic novel without changing anything about the plot and structure of the original. Pretty damn cool.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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