Author Jo Baker Writes "Pride and Prejudice" from Servants' Perspective
British author Jo Baker has written a new novel based on Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" but from the Bennet servants' point of view.
Author Jo Baker's "Longbourn" tells the story of "Pride and Prejudice" but from the servants' point of you.
"Jane Austen was my first experience of grown-up literature," Baker said. "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 was in service. Aware of that English class thing, 'Pride and Prejudice' begins to read a little differently."
The novel describes the chaos downstairs among the Bennets' servants, the preparations for the lavish balls, the housekeeper's thoughts about the family patriarch and the tragedy of the Napoleonic wars.
"While 'Longbourn' brings to life a different side of the world Austen first created, I was impressed even more by the way this novel stands as a transporting, fully realized work of fiction in its own right," Diane Coglianese, an editor at publisher Alfred K. Knopf, said in a statement.
Random House Studio and Focus Features have purchased the film rights for "Longbourn." Transworld will publish the book in Britain and Random House is the Canadian publisher.
Random House Studio president Peter Gethers said, "This is one of the most exciting projects that has come along since we began our partnership with Focus. It's rare to see a wonderful novel that screams out to us - - in a genteel, Austen-like way, of course - - that it needs to be made into an equally wonderful film."
The book will be released in the U.S. later this year.