Thursday, June 11, 2009

Poetry Thursday, interrupted by the undead

We postpone Poetry Thursday for a deserving cause… ZOMBIES!

I hate to give my city editor, John Bertosa, credit for anything. As my boss, he is my natural enemy. He once let me borrow his car and I thanked him by denting one of his rims. I’ve shaken him down for lunch money like the third-grade dork I suspect he once was.

Not only would I kick him when he is down, but I’d change into steel-toed boots first.

The reason I can write this here without fear of consequence? Because I’m certain he would never read a literature blog.

But even I have to admit when Bertosa does something awesome, as he did this Wednesday.

I was busy working on something — honestly, I can’t remember what. It must have been important — when he dropped a book on my desk.

Not a book. The book.

That’s right. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

It’s exactly as I would have hoped: a straightforward retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a shoehorned zombie subplot.

I’ve only read the first 60 pages, so expect a more complete review in a few days. For now, I’ll say this:

When it works, it works brilliantly. Take, for instance, the first chapter. It describes the machinations of Mrs. Bennet, trying to find suitors for her five daughters, while her husband cleans his musket and complains about the zombie epidemic. It ends with this chestnut.

“The business of Mr. Bennet’s life was to keep his daughters alive. The business of Mrs. Bennet’s was to get them married.”

Seth Grahame-Smith deserves kudos for maintaining Jane Austen’s tone, even as the Bennet sisters fight a horde of undead that interrupted their formal ball.

Unfortunately, the joke has already started to wear thin by page 60, so will see if Grahame-Smith has any other tricks up his sleeve besides the bizarre juxtaposition.

I figure this is going to be fabulously good or fabulously awful. Either way, it’s bound to be fabulous.

-Jason Lea,

P.S. “Zombies” is the perfect third noun to follow “Pride” and “Prejudice.”

Try other substitutions. Pride and Prejudice and Pirates; Pride and Prejudice and Mallrats; Pride and Prejudice and Delonte West… Nothing can top “Zombies.”

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