Nancy Butler (adapter), Jane Austen (author), Hugo Petrus (illustrator)
Marvel Books, 2009
What would Jane think? Graphic novels are still new territory for me, but my experiences with Ethel & Ernest and French Milk have lead to some high expectations for the genre. Last week I read Nancy Butler's graphic adaption of the beloved classic Pride & Prejudice, recently published by Marvel Books. The story is all there - Elizabeth, Darcy, Pemberly, even Miss Bingley's offer to "take a turn about the room" - but somehow, it didn't feel quite right.
It's obvious that Butler knows Pride & Prejudice. And it's an impressive accomplishment to distill a classic novel down to 120 illustrated pages, include key phrases and passages, and manage to preserve the overall flavor.
My quibble is with the illustrations. They seem too modern to me - just take a look at the Bennet sisters! I know I'm probably in the minority here. My 19 year old daughter just loved them. But then again, middle-aged Janeites aren't exactly the target audience here.
That said, I do recommend this to fans of graphic novels, fans of Jane Austen, and anyone just curious to see how the two could possibly meet. As for me, I definitely prefer classics in a more traditional format, but I will continue to read the occasional (non-classic) graphic novel.