RUTHEA VAN HEERDEN

The living dead – decaying, flesh-eating, corpses attacking and killing helpless people … not exactly compatible with one of English literature’s most celebrated love stories. I mean do you really expect Miss Elizabeth Bennet to suddenly grab a rapier and attack these undead creatures all the while displaying some excellent swordswomanship?

In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies you can expect decent, elegant ladies trained in martial arts and fighting any zombie that may attack. In this parody of the classic novel by Jane Austen, the writer Seth Grahame-Smith (who “once took a class in English literature”) decided it needed to be spruced up. Grahame-Smith worked with the original text of the novel and inserted elements of zombie and ninja fiction. The main plot is still the same. However, Grahame-Smith added some excellent sections describing Elizabeth and her sisters fighting zombies. If you know the original text well, you will appreciate hilarious quotes such as: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” For those who have only seen the film with Keira Knightley (and not read the book), the original quote is: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.”

The book was published in April 2009 by Quirk Books. The original idea came from the editor of Quirk Books, Jason Rekulak. Rekulak passed the project to Grahame-Smith who realised that Pride and Prejudice was perfect for a zombie novel.

“You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides here and there … It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence,” says Grahame-Smith.

Grahame-Smith has not detracted from the beloved classic but has rather added to the charm, and opened up the classic to a whole new audience.

Readers can also look forward to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters from the same author.

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