Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zone One

Another day, another post-apocalyptic novel.  This one has the distinction of being more nihilistic that the two previously mentioned.  I'm sure you're wondering how books dealing with the end of mankind can be anything but nihilistic, but allow me to demonstrate.  World War Z is about the very beginnings through the end of a disease that causes people to turn into zombies.  Not to spoil the end, but the fact that someone can actually write about the history of a devastation like that kind of means that some people make it out in one, sane piece.  The Passage details the story of a group's struggle to protect a young girl who may be able to save the human race.  There's some hope in that.
Colson Whitehead's Zone One has none of that.  Mark Spitz (not his real name) is part of a three-man sweeper crew that is tasked with clearing out 2-block radii of NYC with 'stragglers.'  The military has already gone through the city and taken care of the large groups of the living dead, but a few, mostly undangerous, remain.  Over three days, Mark's days go from relatively calm and routine to anything but...
With a plot description like that, you can really only assume the worst.  Whitehead has written a cerebral zombie novel, with a character suffering from a new form of PTSD, and without any emotional attachments to a living person.  When most of the people left on the earth, though, are the living dead, the distinction becomes blurry.  It is a dense book, though, with incredibly dark humor laced throughout bleak write-ups of life after the 'Last Night,' as Mark calls it. 
Read with caution.  And in broad daylight.

No comments:

Post a Comment