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Last Updated: 2/20/10
Started for Materials for Young Adults, LIBR 265-10, Professor Wrenn-Estes
San Jose State University
School of Library & Information Studies, Spring 2009
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem

By: By Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Publish Date: 2009
ISBN: 1594743347
Page #: 320 pages
Classification: Fiction
Genre: Fiction, Horror
Age Level: Adult, Older Teen
Series Titles: n/a
Subjects: Zombies, Regency Romance, Classics, Satire

Reader's Annotation: Jane Austen's beloved classic Pride and Prejudice now has zombies! After coming out of copyright, Graham-Smith brilliantly adds his own twist by transforming this literary classic with a few choice words here and there (and what a difference)!

Synopsis & Review: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins the literary transformation of the famous first line of one of the worlds most beloved works of fiction of all time. But if you are like me and so many others, you wouldn’t read Austen to save your life. Unless of course, your life was being threatened by Zombies! I adore a great deal of classics, but in the case of Austen I was particularly inclined to stay away. Now, with open arms, I am taking in my Austen as I never thought I could. Seth Grahame-Smith delivers a hilarious mash-up of Austen romance, Austen dresses, & Austen manners, and now Austen style zombies. (Note the zombie woman who wastes such a fine wedding gown while praying on brains. ‘Tis a shame.) Readers with a taste for Austen, a taste for zombies, or any variation of the two will revel in the satiric re-telling that aptly plays on the original heroine (Elizabeth Bennet) by keeping her as the spirited and determined central character she always was, but now she carries a Katana and martial arts training! Ms. Bennet, who holds a singular talent to slice and dice the demon dead that has been unleashed upon English countryside. Enter Mr. Darcy an arrogant zombie fighter who is drawn to Ms. Bennet and her skill to kill. Their love affaire de couer takes them through all the woes and wins of the original work but turns them into a cutting edge dance with “unmentionables” (a more Austen-esque term then undead I think) at the core. For those of you who abhor romance this is the romance for you. And for those of you who abhor violence, well, dare I say: this is the horror story for you! On a personal Level, I could not recommend a book more! IN fact, this is a Darcy that I can really sink my teeth into! Or shall I say in spirit, I am in want of more! It must be noted that Grahame-Smith does an excellent job at seamless transitions from Austen to zombie moments. Fans of Austen will get a kick out of it! 

Notes: Obviously violence should be taken into parental consideration for younger readers, however comedy and romance tempers the real threat of offensive material (I often laughed at loud). A great choice for reluctant readers of classical literature.

Not surprisingly, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is already being optioned for a movie.

Stars: 5

Extras: Seth Grahame-Smith: A "polite" Q & A

How did the book come about?
SETH GRAHAME-SMITH: I'm an aspiring screenwriter living in L.A. At the moment, I'm executive producing a pilot for MTV that I wrote which is a sort of updatedWonder Years-meets-Superbad. But I also wrote a book called How to Survive a Horror Movie and another called Pardon My President, which was letters of apology from George Bush to all the people that he had wronged. My editor at Quirk had wanted to do a mash-up of some type for a long time. He had all these lists of public domain titles and lists of modern literary devices. The robot phenomenon. The vampire phenomenon. And zombies. And we arrived at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because, when you take a look at the original book, it's almost as if, subconsciously, Jane Austen is laying out the perfect groundwork for an ultraviolent bone-crushing zombie massacre to take place. For instance, there's a regiment of soldiers camped out near the Bennett household. In the book, they're just there for characters to flirt with. But it's not that big a leap to say, Okay, they're there because the countryside has been overrun with what they call the "unmentionable menace."

The what, now?

SETH GRAHAME-SMITH:"The unmentionable menace." They call zombies "unmentionables" because it's a very polite society and the word "zombie" is kind of like a curse word. These aristocrats are trying to get on with their lives as best they can, despite the fact that the country is being devoured around them. They still have their balls and their teas and their manners. It was terrific fun to write, in the style of Jane Austen, describing horrific deaths and entire villages being slaughtered and burned to the ground.


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