Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is what you might call a mash-up. A mash-up in literature takes one genre and inserts elements of another genre into it.  In this case, we have a classic mashed with elements of parody and horror/pop-culture zombie elements. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more of a spoof, a comedy aimed at poking fun at the original text, and not a scary tale.

Let’s compare the first lines of each book.
The original Austen: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
The Grahame-Smith version: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” 

Clearly, the zombie book is making fun of the boy-crazy Bennet girls who, in the original text, spend the entire novel looking for a boyfriend/spouse. In the new novel, a girl of good repute will have renowned martial arts skills which she employs to kill zombies. The zombies appear in “slow” parts of the novel – during a coach ride or during a walk. They aren’t scary
Summary: "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. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is something you'll want to read and is a great book to read along with the original."
and the battle-scenes were not what I usually expect from a scary zombie or funny zombie book/movie. I think the idea behind this novel is a great one - take a classic and make it relevant to 21st century readers. But it was hard for me to finish and left me wishing I had reread the original.

For more information on mash-ups, particularly historical ficiton YA mash-ups check out this article by blogger/librarian  Melissa Rabey.

Publisher: Quirk Books, 2009     Pages: 320
Rating: 2.5 Stars     Source: IC Public Library   


  1. I've sadly never read the original P&P, though I've read this one twice and reading it makes me want to read the original.

  2. +JMJ+

    As much as I like Pride and Prejudice, I have to say the parts I enjoyed the least in this mash-up were the parts closest to the original novel. That is, the parts with hardly any zombies.

    And there was one part which I thought was better than the original: Lizzy's first sight of Pemberley. (One quibble, though: bound feet are not Japanese!)

  3. These books are fun but as you hint to, unsatisfactory. They always leave me wanting more. I think the trend has gotten a little out of hand too.