Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When Literature is Ravaged

The title can be read in two ways:

I'm either talking about a classical novel that has been carried away against its will to the cabin of a pirate ship where it will have its maidenhead stolen during a stormy night at sea by a man with puffy sleeves and unfortunately long hair.


Someone has tried to strategically place zombies into a pastoral Georgian novel about love and the intricacies and ironies of society.

This may come as a surprise, but I think it was supposed to be funny.

It's crap.

I only kept reading it because I wanted to know if Darcy and Elizabeth got chomped in the end.

They did.

I might be lying.

Honestly though, I would like to have the author over for a beer, well, both authors, really...but in this instance just the one who's alive so that I may seek to understand his motivation behind this failure of the modern age. This novel was the ironic mustache of the trend in classical lit rewrites. It's trying to make a statement, but no one is really sure what it is...and just succeeds in coming off as unclean.

It's lazy.

Let me illustrate. Here is a smattering of dialogue:

Lady De Bourgh: Have your ninjas left you?
Elizabeth: We never had any ninjas.
Lady De Bourgh: No ninjas! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without any ninjas! I never heard of such a thing. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your safety.

See what he did there? Yeah, he replaced the word "governess/governesses" with "ninja(s)" and boom...it's a totally different book! But way funnier, because now it has ninjas in it! How fucking original! It's totally like those crazy mustaches people used to have but absolutely nobody has now! Oh wait.

To add insult to corneal injury, I made the mistake of turning the last page to discover BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION QUESTIONS asking the reader to really reach down deep and analyze things like the importance of the role that vomit plays in the story.

I especially liked the beginning of this one:
Is Mr. Collins merely too fat and stupid to notice his wife's gradual transformation into a zombie...?

It's not even the stupidity of the question that gets me...it's that he believes people need his guidance to mock the thing. That a living room, several bottles of wine and a group of Austen-loving women isn't all the inspiration one needs to rip it apart (both figuratively and literally).

It is, of course, available at all fine book retailers.

I would like to advise Mr. Seth Grahame-Smith not to quit his day job.

I have to go, b-rock's trying to make me watch Nova.

15 keep(s) me blogging:

Gorilla Bananas said...

So your a book reviewer now? Here's a tip. When you give a bad review, you may as well tell us what the ending is. You've left me wondering whether any of the zombies got laid.

Rachel said...

I never liked the "pride and prejudice" genre.

Also, madlibbing the text of a novel does not an act of creative spoofing make. Its lame lazy and lame.

Nova is better.

Charlie said...

Absolutely the best book review I've ever read! Bravo!

I wonder how one "gradually transforms" into a zombie--I always thought they were the walking dead.

Maybe I should go watch Nova--maybe they'll explain Zombies to me.

erin said...

I loved the first twenty pages. From there it just went PLOP. It was exactly what you said, just replaced words here and there. The beginning was an enjoyable novelty though.

I love the cover though.

Macoosh said...

ooohh i am so glad you posted this -- i saw it in the store and paused a moement and contemplated. i moved on and i'm glad i did.

sounds terrible.

kara said...

goranas - i'm rarely moved enough by any book to want to write about it. but this shit pissed me off. and no spoilers for you! you wanna know, you gotta hurt like i hurt.

rachel - i hate to agree with you about that last part. like Car Talk, i need to continue to hate Nova so that i can feel young.

charlie - apparently if you're bit by one, but not killed, you'll slowly become one. their teeth is the proverbial double-edged sword. either way you're coming back with a lust for brains.

erin - i know, huh...that cover is cool enough to frame. my guess is this guy was playing around with photoshop one day and then kept on going. bad idea.

macoosh - i'm glad i could help.

Susie Q said...

The cover totally reminds me of "The Haunted House" at Disneyland. Just saying. And I had to discuss the original in our book club, an Amy S. pick. Good grief, what a snore...

kara said...

sue - ha! i'll admit, i get much more engaged when there's a film version. but i think the author of this felt the same way you did...only instead of just not read it, he decided to desecrate it.

Ms. Salti said...

Thank you for the birthday gift yesterday. I laughed my ass off watching him dance and sing on the way to get his Frappucino.

I don't think I have any desire to read this book....

Robert the Skeptic said...

I wonder how "Huckleberry Finn" would read if you replaced Huck's runaway slave friend with "Jim, The Ninja"?

Twinkie said...

Deer Sweet Geezuz... attempting to read Pride and Prejudice was painful enough.

theWaif said...

Blast! Somebody beat me to it. No chance of getting my manuscript, "Mansfield Park and Mummies," published now. Damn you, Grahame-Smith!!! *shakes fist* Ms. Austen should come back from the dead just to smite you.

It seriously does sound awful. In not a good way. Because sometimes awful can be in a good way, don't you know.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm a modest Jane Austen fan. Which is to say that I don't live and breathe her stuff and cannot quote whole chapters, but I like her books. I know there are lots of people who are driven mad by what they see as the tediousness of her prose, but this kind of thing seems over the top. If they hate her that much, they should just give her books a miss. And if they've absolutely GOT to lampoon her, it's got to be as first-rate as her stuff. Which this sure doesn't sound...

The Future said...

I see this as some lazy person's attempt to jump on the coattails of the phenomenal Austen success. Regardless of whether all your readers are fans, many people are and anything that smacks of Austen will get a read as you are a case in point, feeding this lazy author's coffers, as you just did!

The Future said...

And the cover illustration makes my mouth hurt.