The latest in book sequels

By Josh Wolk
Updated January 23, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

“Prince of Tides” fans who have whispered the book’s trademark phrase “Lowenstein… Lowenstein…” may soon be whispering “Scarlett… Scarlett…” — “Tides” author Pat Conroy is reportedly in negotiations to pen a sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s classic, “Gone With the Wind.”

Mitchell’s 1936 Civil War tale has already spawned one posthumous sequel, 1991’s “Scarlett,” which — even with largely mediocre reviews — sold an impressive 2.5 million hardcover copies. With a bestselling author like Conroy penning another sequel, St. Martin’s Press might end up with enough moolah to purchase all of Atlanta (at least in Civil War-era dollars).

Because no great idea goes uncopied, you can expect other publishers to follow St. Martin’s lead by teaming classic novels with bestselling authors who will write the sequels. As book lovers, we at EW Online suggest the following pairings:

“Deadly Harvest,” by Stephen King— In the sequel to “The Grapes of Wrath,” fruit picker Tom Joad — who has left his family — hallucinates that a migrant worker’s head is a giant grape and tears it off in an adrenaline-packed frenzy. The deranged Joad then starts a cross-country rampage, collecting bagfuls of heads. In a subplot, the Joad family’s trusty Model T becomes possessed by socialist demons and tries to run over FDR.

“Little Psychic Women” by Kurt Vonnegut — In this satiric follow-up to Louisa May Alcott’s classic, the newly married Jo March gains fame as a science-fiction writer. Rival sci-fi writer Kilgore Trout becomes convinced that Jo is stealing his ideas through telepathy. After donning a wax paper hat to “protect” his thoughts, he travels to her home, abducts her husband and challenges her to a competition in which they each attempt to write the longest run-on sentence: The winner takes the rights to his brain. And so it goes.

“Crime and Mistrial” — by John Grisham This follow up to “Crime and Punishment” finds the ex-con Raskolnikov in St. Petersburg as a prosecutor who has just earned his law degree. He is soon embroiled in the case of his life, representing a young borscht maker late on his beet payments whose store was trashed by angry collectors. (While pummeling him, the brutes yelled, “You know what Marx says, ‘To each according to his need.’ Well, you need a lesson in butt-kicking!”) Raskolnikov takes the good fight to the courtroom, but loses when his old urges compel him to leap over the table and knock the defendants in the head with an ax handle.

Gone With the Wind

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