Monday, 8 June 2009

Currently In The Reading Pile

Well as I type this I am on the final few pages of the rather unique adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice", with this latest adaptation being particularly special, due to the addition of flesh eating zombies, while going by the highly imaginative title of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", which has since it's released received a huge amount of publicity in various Horror blogs unsurprisingly, though I was personally keen to see if it was more than a one joke book, which thankfully it was, not only adding scenes of zombies, but working them into the story, so that the new material almost blends almost seamlessly with the original source material, while helping to emphasise the already present humour of Austin's writing.
This alternate world that Seth Grahame-Smith has created now not only add's the obvious zombie element, but also Ninja elements aswell with the Bennet sisters now all trained in the "Deadly Arts" making them a fearsome zombie fighting army, much like Mr Darcy who has been turned into a well known slayer of "The Unmentionables" who roam the country, constantly craving the taste of human flesh.
Honestly though I did struggle to get through this book, despite the fact that I was really looking forward to read it, with the old style language taking some getting used to, especially when the majority of my usual reading tends to sway more towards modern fiction than classic, so it did take some time to tune my head into the language (not helped by screaming children on the work commute), which I would say is more a caution to any of my fellow readers, who like myself don't frequently dip into the works of Austen, though if your already a fan of her work and a Zombie fan, then you will no doubt also enjoy this new take on the material.

Still today I did start "Pygmy", the latest novel by Chuck Palahniuk, who I am a huge fan of and who is probably best known for writing "Fight Club" and I always look forward to the release of one his new books with much excitement, with this latest release being no different, seeing how I used (or should that be abused) my supervisor powers to get the Stock room staff, to go through several boxes just to find my copy, as he is still one of the few authors that I will pay hardback prices for, rather than waiting for the paperback version to come out.
This latest novels, plot revolves around a 13-year-old exchange student, one of a dozen "shipped to America", to live with American families, who is actually a terrorist along with his fellow exchange students, who plan to execute a plan which is set to kill millions.
Having so far only had chance to read the first chapter, it is already clear that this work is more in tune with the classic Palahniuk books such as "Choke" & "Invisible Monsters" as he turns his slightly warped world view to another aspect of society and continuing his return to more familiar territory, which he began the return to with his last novel "Snuff" after his brief diversion from this well trodden ground with his horror trilogy (Lullaby, Diary & Haunted) and the loosely sci-fi esq "Rant".
So far my only real grumble is with the language that he has chosen to use for his main character, which feels almost like your reading broken english, which is clearly the voice that Palahniuk has in mind for this latest creation and reminded me of the early novels of "Irvine Welsh" such as "Trainspotting" & "Glue" where the characters were wrote how they talked, which like the dialouge of Agent Number 67, takes awhile for your brain to adjust to and something which might put newcomers off, making it probably not the best book to start with, but thankfully Palahniuk is an author with an fantastic back catalogue, providing plenty of starting points for these readers, keen to find out what the fuss is about.
My only other nagging issue though outside of the language is how similar the plot seems to be to the Simpsons episode "The Crepes of Wrath" which featured an exchange student, who was actually an Albanian Spy. Still no doubt like nearly any topic, that he chooses to cover in his books, Chuck will have found a way to put his own spin on things, which currently seems to be with Agent Number 67, constantly thinking of ways he can kill people, using various kung fu moves.

Honestly though I am a self confested "Cultist" (The Cult being Chuck's offical fan club) and I've loved all his books, outside of "Diary" which I found to be a rare miss and was largely down to how iritating the husband character was, but I will try and post a proper review once I get through this latest novel, before begining the agonising wait for the next book again with "Tell All" currently set to be released in 2010, were Chuck is planning on reinventing Playwright "Lillian Hellman" which is rumoured to be just one of three novels, that he completed while caring for his sick mother, so it looks like there is still plenty left of this twisted (but highly enjoyable) world view to still come.


  1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had the same effect on me when I read Pride and Prejudice without the zombies the first and second times. It made me fall asleep. All the dumber to give it that kung fu style element. Not worth the hype.

    I can't wait, however, to read Pygmy. Just finished Snuff a week or so ago. But, thanks to you my dear Elwood, I'm currently immersed in the works of Steve Alten and lovin' it!

  2. I'm glad to hear your enjoying Steve Alten's books, which are a pain for me to get hold of, as I have to find them either on ebay or import through, as they get such limited UK print runs, which kinda sucks. I love the MEG series (incase you havn't guessed) and really have to read "Hell's Aquarium" at some point, but then I do already have quite a stack of books still to read as it is.

    "Snuff" was a good book, even if it got kinda random towards the end, though it did have a bunch of people (mainly from the Cult) dressing up in Wedding dresses, to go to readings / signings, which reminds me I should really try and find out what the theme is for this latest book.


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