Friday, July 17, 2009
Sacrilege! A Book Profaned!
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" That distressing sound you hear is the late, great author Jane Austen, turning restlessly in her grave.
Jane is not going to dig her way out and become a flesh-eating zombie. Alas, her seminal work, Pride and Prejudice, has undergone that horrid fate.
I have heard from several sources, including this one, about the new bestseller, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Lizzie and Darcy and Zombies. Oh my.
Maybe it's because I've read Pride and Prejudice (sans zombies) five times that I feel this witty and touching book should be beyond a visit from the brain-sucking undead.
Fact is, I'm really sorry to see this work subjected to parody. I won't fight to get P&P&Z banned from libraries, but my fear is that people will read it instead of giving the real thing a ride. And that would be a shame.
In the original book, no one dies during the course of the narrative. P&P is a novel of social relevance to its time, done with good plotting and more than a touch of dudgeon. And while people aren't asked to marry their first cousins anymore in order to save an estate, they still fall prey to conniving parents, shyness, bad first impressions, and snobbery when choosing a lifetime love. For that reason, this hard-to-read, pre-Civil War British tome has stood the test of time.
Who doesn't have a bad sister who brings disgrace on the whole family by running around?
Oh, maybe that was the wrong example to use. My family is deficient in this respect.
All right, who wouldn't be partly seduced by the prospect of living in a big-ass mansion full of sculptures, while raking in an annual income that would make Donald Trump look like a wannabe? Especially if the owner of said mansion is eye candy and well-behaved.
That one works for me.
I think P&P will survive this modern parody. My hope is that infusing a classic tale with skeletal predators will not become a trend. Nothing is sacred in this world when there's an almighty dollar to be earned. I wouldn't be surprised to see Walden: A Life in the Woods Dodging Zombies, or Brideshead Revisited by Zombies, or The Sun Also Rises on Zombies.
Those of us addicted to the Austen/Bronte canon can at least take solace in the fact that Wuthering Heights is zombie-proof because it already more or less has a zombie. And Jane Eyre doesn't lend itself to zombies, because they aren't as scary as the antagonist already inserted into the proceedings.
If you are thinking about taking a great literary classic and turning it into a gore-fest, I strongly recommend spending the rest of the summer immersed in H.P. Lovecraft's stories. They will cure your tendencies to set zombies loose on Daisy and Gatsby.
Elizabeth. Darcy. I'm in your corner. If I meet the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I'm gonna shove his writing hand into a Slap-Chop, dice it to smithereens, and use it for crab bait. Word.