Mourning the recent end of "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"? Rereading Death Comes to Pemberley for the 10th time? Not to worry; in today's modern world, it's impossible to go too long without a new take on the enduring classic Pride and Prejudice.
This October, Knopf will publish Longbourn, by Jo Baker, a British author whose first novel to be published in the U.S., The Undertow, came out last spring. Baker's twist? She's telling the story from the point of view of the Bennett family's servants. Film rights have, of course, already been snapped up.
“Jane Austen was my first experience of grown-up literature,” Baker explains. “But as I read and re-read her books, I began to become aware that if I’d been living at the time, I wouldn’t have got to go to the ball; I would have been stuck at home with the sewing. Just a few generations back, my family were in service. Aware of that English class thing, Pride and Prejudice begins to read a little differently.”
Other subjects omitted in P&P that Baker plans to take on include race, servants' inner lives and the Napoleonic wars. The Undertow, which moved backward and forward in time to tell the stories of four generations of a British family, proved that Baker is an ambitious writer with the ability to create characters with genuine emotional depth. Signs point to P&P being in good hands this time around.
Will you look for this one in October?