Does your romance novel need some extra spice? Try Zombies!

Seth Grahame-Smith's remake of Pride and Prejudice may well be the most commercialy successful example of remixed literature to date. In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, protagonist Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are recast as deadly ninjas employed by his majesty in the battle against England's "unmentionable" menace: a curse of Zombies which plagues the whole country. What makes this novel most intriguing from the standpoint of literary mashup or experimental writing is that the new text is in large part faithful to the original. In many respects, this is Jane Austen's original novel with just the sort of tweaks and minor revisions as might be demanded of the stereotypical overwrought screenwriter by producers more concerned about box office success than faithfulness to artistic vision. Curiously, in this case there doesn't really feel like there has been any sacrifice of the novel's original narrative: the main themes work equally well with or without zombies. Elizabeth Bennet as a ninja zombie slayer behaves and thinks exactly as you might imagine the original character would if somehow relocated to an alternate universe where the undead walk the earth...

Can special effects lure Joe Sixpack to classic literature?

For reasons unknown, zombies are the height of fashion these days. Nobody knows when the zombie fad will end. There is a scene in "... AND ZOMBIES" where a small herd of the undead are in a garden grazing on a patch of cauliflowers which they have mistaken for human brains. Mr Bennet himself uses cauliflowers in his zombie traps. Is it possible that Zombies (in the context of this book) are to the general reading public what cauliflowers are to Zombies: merely bait to resell public domain literature where there would otherwise be no market? Regardless of the author's true intentions, I believe PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES to be superior to the original in many ways. There are so many delicious new sub-plots including Charlotte Collin's hilarious gradual transformation into a zombie and the numerous martial arts battle scenes. Added to this are the clever rewrites of sentences and the introduction of phrases such as "his most English parts" (referring, one surmises, to the male genetalia most notably absent from the Jane Austen orignal). In short, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES is a ripping good read and heartily recommended by THE MASHER. It rates 5 brains out of 5:



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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
published by Quirk Books:
www.quirkbooks.com