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Zone One: A Novel (Unabridged)

by Colson Whitehead

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In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka Zone One - but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety - the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives. Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world. And then things start to go wrong. Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

Customer Reviews

Thoughtful and horrific.

I've never read a zombie novel before, I've always thought zombie storys are really cheesy (no puns intended). But they're popular, so I decided to try one. So you know I have nothing to compare it to.
I found it really good, well-written, literate - almost too talky. But it's more about what's going on in peoples heads than it is about zombie-squashing (though there's plenty of that too) It's written in sort of a stream of consciousness style. The blurb for the book describes it as a "wry take" - it's isn't funny at all, this is not a comic horror story. The author just has a eloquent sense of the absurd.
I thought it was really good, one of those books I had a hard time stopping and a great ending. I really wasn't expecting something this well-written and horrible.
Highly recommended.

Wordy does not equal Eloquent

I'm sure this is a very intelligent and eventually entertaining story, but I just can't go forward with it any more. I've listened to the first hour and a half and only about 10 minutes of that is actual story - probably three of those are dialogue and the rest is description. Wordy description. Probably the wordiest descriptions I've ever read. I guess that worked for Dickens but this is a zombie novel. The author is clearly intelligent and I get the whole idea of 'classing up' the genre, but again - it's a zombie novel. Most people don't come to iTunes and choose a post-apocalyptic zombie genre because we feel like laboring through the writing styles of Faulkner or Tolstoy.

I know this is getting great reviews by critics and the literary bourgeoisie so don't go on this lowly prole's review alone. Read what's out there about this and know that if you're just looking for a fun escapist undead novel to dive into you might consider taking a pass on this one.

didnt like it

Did'nt like this book. I liked the concept of it though. You never really get to know any of the characters. The author seemed to have trouble holding on to one thought. More than half the book is scattered flash backs. If your gonna read this book get it from your public library

Colson Whitehead, Zone One: A Novel (Unabridged)
View in iTunes $23.95
  • Narrator: Beresford Bennett
  • Published: 2011

Customer Ratings