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Novel of the week: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Seth Grahame-Smith forces the characters of Jane Austen’s classic comedy of manners to defend themselves against “wave after wave” of undead brain-eaters.
 

(Quirk, $12.95)

“Has there ever been a work of literature that couldn’t be improved by adding zombies?” said Lev Grossman in Time.com. TV writer Seth Grahame-Smith may have launched a new literary genre by forcing the pampered cast of Jane Austen’s classic comedy of manners to defend themselves against “wave after wave” of undead brain-eaters. The gimmick even makes some sense, considering that “so much of Austen” is about using manners and wit to paper over life’s darker patches.

Open-minded Austen fans won’t be disappointed, said Amanda Hess in Washington CityPaper. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy “still hate each other, until they love each other,” and 85 percent of the original text hasn’t been touched. The zombies remain mere background, a plague played out mostly in the story’s margins.

But the great achievement of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is to awaken a desire “to read the remix and the original side by side,” said Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly. It’s not a sendup of Austen so much as a celebration of her comic talent. “Dear reader, there are ninjas, too.”

 

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