You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's the deal? Your very own weekly Publisher's Lunch deal snark: "Jane Austen is dead, get over it" Edition

Publisher's Lunch says: Lynn Shepherd's MURDER AT MANSFIELD PARK, a mischievous and clever reimagining of the Austen classic, to Hope Dellon at St. Martin's, by Ben Mason at Conville & Walsh (NA). UK/Commonwealth rights to Simon Petherick at Beautiful Books.

Indichik says: It started relatively innocuously in the mid '90s, with "Sense and Sensibility" and "Emma," not to mention "Clueless," and continued on into the 2000s, with the overhyped Keira Knightley version of "Pride and Prejudice" the fourth film version up to the point, and the subsequent bizarre transformation of Fitzwilliam Darcy into some kind of Georgian-era Edward Cullen, minus the bloodsucking. Then because female audiences couldn't get enough of sexless, nonthreatening, cravat-wearing antiheroes, and Hollywood had had run out of actual Jane Austen novels to film, we had "Becoming Jane," which was a biopic attempting to reimagine Austen herself as one of her own beautiful and feisty romantic heroines, despite the fact that she was a plain-looking recluse who never married and lived at home until she died at the age of 42.

That couldn't be all, of course -- not when chick lit remains a viable market. So what did we have then? Why, "Jane Austen chick lit"! A match made in heaven! A quick Amazon search reveals that we've got "Jane Austen Ruined My Life," "What Would Jane Austen Do?," "Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict," and for the DIY-ers, "Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure." Then there's "Austenland," and "Me and Mr. Darcy," the latter two of which are essentially the same book, in which a modern-day thirtysomething woman from the big city, frustrated with romance, blah blah blah, ends up touring some bizarre Jane Austen-theme park in England, and, much to her surprise, ends up meeting none other than...Mr. Darcy! It could so totally happen. Not to mention the apparently very successful "Jane Austen Mysteries" series, casting Jane herself as the intrepid gumshoe, of which Shepherd's book appears to be an offspring. Then at last, we come to the dozens or so unauthorized sequels, retellings and "companion novels" to "Pride and Prejudice," all astonishingly by different writers bearing vaguely English-sounding names that all seem to eventually boil down to something like "Alexandra Willoughby" -- "Mr. Darcy's Great Escape," "The Other Mr. Darcy," "Marrying Darcy," "Darcy's Temptation," "Darcy and Anne," "The Plight of the Darcy Brothers," "Mr. Darcy's Dream," "The Darcys and the Bingleys," "The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy," and, inevitably, "Mr. Darcy, Vampyre," proving, not for the first time, that we, as a society, are doomed.

Jane Austen is dead. Get over it.


Anonymous said...

Yes! Not only is Jane Austin dead but apparently undead too! To the Indichik “Get Over It” list I would like to add Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Also the impending Elton John produced sci-fi slasher film Pride and Predator.

CS said...

That last one is so not real.