Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may have made it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list, which means that many people found it intriguing enough to buy it.   But I wonder how many people actually read it.

It's not that PPZ is a bad pastiche (as far as pastiches go); in fact, it's quite faithful to the plot and language of the original Pride and Prejudice.  And that, I think, is the root of the problem: it's too faithful.

If you found Pride and Prejudice tedious to read, then PPZ will be almost equally as tedious.  The swordfights, double-entendres and toilet humor come few and far between, as slow-moving as the pace of the original novel; they do little to relieve the defects of Austen's work.  (Yes, that was a pun).  

If, on the other hand,  you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, you'll find the intrusion of ninjas and the living dead rather distracting. Really, it's almost like reading Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of a bored freshman with a wandering mind flicking back to scenes from Kill Bill and Dawn of the Dead.

PPZ's merit, perhaps, is in its abridgment of the original work.  It's slimmer, but maintains the essence of the plot, the characters, and their relationships.  Furthermore, Seth Grahame-Smith is to be commended for his fidelity to the spirit of Austen's language.  I dare say it could even be used as a substitute for Pride and Prejudice  in the classroom, if it weren't so expensive.

What it all boils down to: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a novelty item, plain and simple. Buy it to show it off, but if the price tag turns you off, you're better reading the original and just letting your mind wander.

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