Jane Austen and the undead get together for a new novel and film


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a solid fan base must be in want of a duel with the living dead. However little known the feelings or views of such a woman may be upon zombies first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of readers, that she is considered the rightful vanquisher of some one or other of the supernatural monsters.

What I mean is that Seth Grahame-Smith has formed a posthumous partnership with Jane Austen to create a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Uh huh, you heard me. Here’s the book cover:

Quirk books describes the story like this:

[It] features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.

I always knew Wickham was even more sinister than Austen let on! So, Lydia ran away with him? Let her go, I say; she’s kind of a brat. But no, they couldn’t let her go, because Wickham was a flesh-eater! Makes perfect sense.

It may seem like a joke, but the book was only announced a few weeks ago, and already it has rocketed to the #77 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list. And it looks like a movie deal will be signed before the book is released in April. Cinematical reports that there is a full-on studio bidding war going on over the rights to it.

If Keira Knightley doesn’t eat a biscuit or something, she can probably reprise her role as Elizabeth Bennet post-Zombie attack.

I can’t decide if Grahame-Smith is lazy or brilliant for adding a couple of “lost chapters” to Pride and Prejudice. Mostly, though, I wonder what Austen herself would say. I think she’d have a really good laugh: First, because publishers said people wouldn’t read her, and here were are, 200 years later, remaking her books in every possible way; and second, because no one loved good satire more than the Austen clan.

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid,” Austen wrote in Pride and Prejudice. “It jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony.” Also, it jumps to the undead.

What do you think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

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