Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Janespotting: Now, with ultra-violent zombie mayhem!

As soon as this project was announced this winter, I knew I had to get my hands on it. It was advertised as 85% of Austen's text, with the remaining text relating more details about how Elizabeth Bennet, a zombie-fighter along with her four Shaolin-trained sisters, meets and falls in love with Mr. Darcy, who is equally skilled in dispatching undead "unmentionables."

Now, that may sound like a completely insane mashup, but I'm a big fan of Max Brooks' World War Z, a wonderful "oral history" of a zombie plague. (I love books about plagues, although they don't have to create zombies to be interesting.) Lately I can't recommend any books to Boy without him turning up his nose, but this one he absolutely loved. He rereads it every other month or so, and ate up Brooks's Zombie Survival Guide as well. So I was totally up for adding some zombie scenes to Austen's classic.

After chasing around the Ann Arbor area to get my copy (it sold out at my local bookstore in less than a day), I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours. As advertised, it was mostly Austen's story and words. But then you'd come across a line about the Bennet girls' martial arts training, or a section where zombies invade the Netherfield kitchens, or a very gigglesome remark about balls. I laughed out loud several times while devouring this book as fast as a zombie slurps down brains.

Here's a sample passage, to give you a little flavor; Lizzy is visiting Charlotte Collins, as in the original, but unfortunately poor Charlotte has been infected by an unmentionable and will soon need to be beheaded and burned before burial:
Why Mr. Darcy came so often to the Parsonage, it was more difficult to understand. It could not be for society, as he frequently sat there ten minutes together without moving his lips; and when he did speak, it seemed the effect of necessity rather than of choice. He seldom appeared really animated, even at the sight of Mrs. Collins gnawing upon her own hand. What remained of Charlotte would have liked to have believed this change the effect of love, and the object of that love her friend Eliza. She watched him whenever they were at Rosings, and whenever he came to Hunsford; but without much success, for her thoughts often wandered to other subjects, such as the warm, succulent sensation of biting into a fresh brain.
What's even more fun? Boy is reading it, too!

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