four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
41-July-Aug-2009
user_rating: 
0

A-Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesJane Austen is a Regency-era English novelist beloved by generations of readers throughout the world. Seth Grahame-Smith, who adds gruesome twists to Austen’s classic novel, lives in Los Angeles.

The Story: Does the story of this book really require an explanation? Who could imagine a more formidable Shaolin-trained, katana-wielding, antizombie warrior than Elizabeth Bennet? But unlike many other parodies or adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Grahame-Smith takes advantage of the book’s public domain status to insert his action-scene additions into Austen’s original text. He also carefully imitates the well-mannered speech of her characters (the zombies are referred to as "the unmentionables" or "the sorry stricken"). Because this novel is based on Pride and Prejudice, you already know how it will end—but in this version, you can keep a body count.
Quirk. 320 pages. $12.95. ISBN: 1594743347

Entertainment Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"I’ve always said the problem with Jane Austen’s novels is that there simply aren’t enough zombies. But—finally!—that situation has been resolved." Clark Collis

New York Post 4 of 5 Stars
"The trick might have worked with any number of titles—War and Peace and Zombies, The Sound and the Fury and Zombies—but there’s something particularly hilarious about introducing the undead into an English novel of manners. … Grahame-Smith remakes Elizabeth Bennet as Lizzie the zombie-slayer, possessed not only of impeccable etiquette and stinging wit, but also lethal martial arts skills." Sara Stewart

Onion AV Club 4 of 5 Stars
"Such is the accomplishment of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies that after reveling in its timeless intrigue, it’s difficult to remember how Austen’s novel got along without the undead. What begins as a gimmick ends with renewed appreciation of the indomitable appeal of Austen’s language, characters, and situations, and unbridled enjoyment in the faithfulness with which they have been transformed into the last, best hope of English civilization." Donna Bowman

Charlotte Observer 3.5 of 5 Stars
"There’s practically an English cottage industry in Pride mysteries, prequels and sequels, even soft porn for those who want a peek under the sheets. But the one need that hadn’t been filled was the chance to see Regency England in the grip of a plague of the undead, who rise from their graves and gruesomely attack the living. … Grahame-Smith’s retelling is imaginatively done—zombie fighting fits nicely as a replacement for piano practice." Kathleen Purvis

Critical Summary

It’s difficult to tell if critics’ reactions to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should be characterized as praise or astonishment. Some reviewers treated the book as a delightful gimmick. Others found that, beneath the surface, the book actually constituted an interesting way of looking at Austen’s novel. Zombies answer certain puzzling questions: Why were those troops stationed near Hertfordshire? Why did Charlotte Lucas actually marry Mr. Collins? (She had recently been bitten by zombies and wanted a husband who could be counted on to behead her—of course!) But critics also pointed out that this parody shows that Austen’s novel has remained so powerful over time that even the undead can’t spoil it.