As if cat memes haven’t vociferously enough taken over the interwebbed world, they’re digging their claws into classic literature. Pride and Prejudice and Kitties (Skyhorse, $16.95, 195 pages) is “chick lit meets kit lit,” according to Pamela Jane and Deborah Guyol, the Portland writers who reimagined Jane Austen’s classic with Mr. Darcy as an all-black shorthair.
What would Austen think of her characters made feline and posed—or photoshopped with varying quality—into Regency settings? Abbreviated chapters accommodate readers with a cat’s attention span, each opening with a kitten-themed rewrite. “Netherfield Park is marked at last,” we begin. And “after catnip tea, Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded Elizabeth of her promise to pounce on the piano.” Snippets of Austen’s original sneak in, punctuated by pictures of kittens in nightcaps or the furry Fitzwilliam with parchment and the caption. This much is true: This is a lot harder than tweeting.
But no one is picking this up because they’re interested in 19th-century British literature. Pride and Prejudice and Kitties is a novelty gift for your knitting-club friend or a coffee-table amusement. After all, animal photos are like catnip or crack, even for bookworms. Maybe especially for bookworms.
Butcher the text though it may, Pride and Prejudice and Kitties is a lighthearted labor of love aimed at pure amusement. Jane and Guyol, who’ve respectively authored children’s books and The Complete Guide to Contract Lawyering, bonded in high school and built a lifelong friendship on quirky literary ideas. It took six years to find a publisher for this “cat-lover’s romp through Jane Austen’s classic,” their first completed project.
The book is more cat than classic, but as fan fiction goes, we’re just glad it’s not Shades of Grey Tabby Cats.
Tight-laced lit lackeys may get their haunches up, but everyone else
can chuckle over a fat Siberian kitty in tartan and lace.
GO: Pamela Jane and Deborah Guyol will appear at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, on Monday, April 15. 7 pm. Free.