Death Comes To Pemberley, PD James


You’ve all heard that PD James’ new book is a sequel to ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ beginning with Wickham being brutally murdered?

I am going to read the shit out of it.

Also, PD James is a tremendous writer, and won major props from me for saying, essentially, ‘I’m ninety, and I’m a very respected author, and now I’m going to write the best fan fiction you’ve ever seen, and it’s gonna be rad.’

I took a break from PD James after one too many of her Adam Dalgliesh books regurgitated cut-and-paste character backstory. I guess self-plagiarizing technically harms no one but it’s just kind of lazy and off-putting in fiction. I might use the same strings of background sentences when I’m writing on deadline about yet another round of quarterly bank earnings, but I don’t pretend that’s literature, you know? Or something people read for fun, unlike a series of mysteries about a detective-slash-part-time-poet with a Painful Past.

That said, a PD James murder-mystery fanfiction sequel to Pride and Prejudice sounds pretty awesome.


…North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is hands down the most underrated book I’ve ever read. I was introduced to the book when I watched the BBC’s adaption which was pretty amazing. It’s a Victorian book which is reminiscent of the…

North and South does the impossible by (very effectively) ripping off Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre in one glorious mashup. (Our heroine travels to a grim, yet darkly intriguing, new home and meets the local tall, dark rich guy with a tragic past. She’s prejudiced, he’s proud! She saves his life from a sudden attack, then rejects his unexpected first proposal. Family secrets conspire to keep them apart, but a sudden windfall from distant relations and a grand romantic gesture reunite them at last. With bonus mining strikes!)

I actually enjoy rewatching the BBC miniseries adaptation more than re-reading the book, but both are good ways to pass a winter afternoon. And also good fodder for a drinking game: it cracks me up how many characters Gaskell kills off in quick succession, often without much warning.

(Also worth reading for as long as it stays up: the “summary” section on the book’s Wikipedia page, whose contributor(s) apparently agree with me about “the story’s many fatalities” and other convenient plot contrivances, like the heroine’s father’s “frustratingly unspecified theological doubts” that necessitate the family’s move up north.)

Book club: Jane

(Methinks a modern Jane Eyre wouldn’t waste time dressing up in olde timey costume and mooning around the moors.)

I just finished Jane, April Lindner’s modern-day retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It was a fun, compulsive read, but not all of it works. Some of that’s Lindner’s fault, but a lot of the blame goes to Bronte.

First of all, Lindner.

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