March 30, 2009

EXCERPT: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I am very skeptical that Seth Grahame-Smith's mash up of zombies and Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice will result in a good novel. More likely, it will be not so much a good novel as simply a novelty. Injected into Austen's original text, Grahame-Smith has interspersed his own scenes of zombie attacks that feature the novel's protagonist, Elizabeth Bennett, as some kind of Kung Fu ninja.

NPR has an excerpt from the novel:
A few of the guests, who had the misfortune of being too near the windows, were seized and feasted on at once. When Elizabeth stood, she saw Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.
Read the full excerpt and listen to a brief interview with the author HERE.

The whole endeavour will succeed based on the writer's ability to insert these scenes into the period language and style of Austen, but I'm doubtful from this description that this will offer anything worth reading.

I'm all for postmodern twists on canonical literature, but I'm not down with such twists being turned out purely to cash in on a pop culture trend. Doing the heavy lifting of reinterpreting or adapting a classic is different from riding on literary coat tails.

Grahame-Smith will have to convince me he has something unique to say in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and is not simply cannibalizing a classic for media exposure.