Ever wondered what happened to your favourite characters in classic novels after the book ends? What about side characters? Would characters from classic novels survive in today’s modern world? Pick up these 10 books and explore a whole new world of classics reimagined.
Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P. D. James
Publisher: Faber & Faber Limited, 2018
Call No.: English JAM
Based on: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband, George Wickham, has been murdered.
Shylock Is My Name
Author: Howard Jacobson
Publisher: Hogarth, 2016
Call No.: English JAC
Based on: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
In this provocative and profound interpretation of The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is juxtaposed against his present-day counterpart in the character of art dealer and conflicted father Simon Strulovitch.
With characteristic irony, Jacobson presents Shylock as a man of incisive wit and passion, concerned still with questions of identity, parenthood, anti-Semitism and revenge. While Strulovich struggles to reconcile himself to his daughter Beatrice’s “betrayal” of her family and heritage – as she is carried away by the excitement of Manchester high society, and into the arms of a footballer notorious for giving a Nazi salute on the field – Shylock alternates grief for his beloved wife with rage against his own daughter’s rejection of her Jewish upbringing.
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, Book 1)
Author: Jasper Fforde
Publisher: Penguin Books, 2003
Call No.: English FFO – [MY]
Based on: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Fans of Douglas Adams and P. G. Wodehouse will love visiting Jasper Fforde’s Great Britain, circa 1985, when time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously: it’s a bibliophile’s dream. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense.
All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.
Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan
Author: Keisuke Matsuoka
Publisher: Vertical, 2019
Call No.: English MAT – [MY]
Based on: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Where did Sherlock Holmes go during his famous disappearance between his death at Reichenbach Falls and reappearance in Baker Street, three years later? God of mystery Keisuke Matsuoka contends that it was in the Far East—in Japan, to be exact.
In 1891, Nicholas Alexandrovich, the Tsarevich of Russia, was traveling in a fragile Meiji-era Japan on an official tour when he was almost assassinated. The Otsu Incident, as this came to be known, led to fear of an international incident, perhaps even a declaration of war from Russia. In steps Sherlock Holmes—on the run from the British police and presumed to be dead. Together with Hirobumi Ito, the first Prime Minister of Japan, the two unlikely allies immerse themselves in a knotted tangle of politics, deceit, and great powers.
The Golden House
Author: Salman Rushdie
Publisher: Vintage, 2018
Call No.: English RUS
Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighbourhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family.
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Canongate, 2005
Call No.: English ATW
Based on: The Odyssey by Homer
Penelope. Immortalised in legend and myth as the devoted wife of the glorious Odysseus, silently weaving and unpicking and weaving again as she waits for her husband’s return.
Now Penelope wanders the underworld, spinning a different kind of thread: her own side of the story - a tale of lust, greed and murder.
Author: China Miéville
Publisher: Pan, 2013
Call No.: English MIE – [FN]
Based on: Moby Dick by Herman Melville
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt. The giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory – are extraordinary. But no matter how spectacular it is, travelling the endless rails of the railsea, Sham senses that there’s more to life. Even if his captain can think only of her obsessive hunt for one savage mole.
When they find a wrecked train, it's a welcome distraction. But the impossible salvage Sham finds there leads to trouble. Soon he's hunted on all sides: by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham's life that's about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
Author: Michael Cunningham
Publisher: Picador, 2000
Call No.: English CUN – [MO]
Based on: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.
Passionate, profound, and deeply moving, this is Cunningham's most remarkable achievement to date.
The Gap of Time
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Publisher: Hogarth, 2015
Call No.: English WIN
Based on: The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s “late plays.” It tells the story of a king whose jealousy results in the banishment of his baby daughter and the death of his beautiful wife. His daughter is found and brought up by a shepherd on the Bohemian coast, but through a series of extraordinary events, father and daughter, and eventually mother too, are reunited.
In The Gap of Time, Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale, we move from London, a city reeling after the 2008 financial crisis, to a storm-ravaged American city called New Bohemia. Her story is one of childhood friendship, money, status, technology and the elliptical nature of time. Written with energy and wit, this is a story of the consuming power of jealousy on the one hand, and redemption and the enduring love of a lost child on the other.
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group, 2015
Call No.: English MAG
Based on: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
When Alice fell down the rabbit-hole, she found Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But how did Victorian Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?
Gregory Maguire turns his imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings -and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll’s enduring tale. Ada, a friend mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, sets out to visit Alice but, arriving a moment too late, tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself.
Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and bring her safely home from this surreal world below the world. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts interrupt their mad tea party to suggest a conundrum: if Eurydice can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or if Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life.
Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.
The summaries and book covers are the copyright of the respective publishing companies.