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Friday, November 11, 2011

Zone One

Upfront: I am a Colson Whitehead fan, but I am not a zombie fan.  This confluence of events might color the following review of Colson Whitehead's Zone One.

In post-apocalyptic Manhattan, survivors of a plague sweep Zone One, the area of Manhattan below Canal, to rid it of plague-ridden zombies.  The plague has either killed or turned most of the country into "skels"--zombies that attack and eat human flesh (like, humans that are alive and the zombies kill them by eating them...yummy).  Buffalo, which is now the head of the country, hopes that by sweeping this area they can repopulate Manhattan then move on to other major cities.  Mark Spitz is one of his three-member team who is responsible for such work in Zone One.

Colson (we are on a first name basis, I have decided just now) throws sentences on a page the way Jackson Pollack throws paint on a canvas--you may not understand how he does it, but it works, and the beauty is just astounding.  I stuck around with this book not because I am into zombies/vampires/werewolves/any-science-fiction-in-general, but because the way Colson weaves a sentence together leaves me feeling a little tingly inside.  I can't say I entirely understand why, but if you love the art of the sentence then Colson is your man.

I found the story intriguing, and Colson has whipped together a super interesting and intricate plot for this novel.  The details are similar to a well-crafted doll house; no matter which direction you look in he has thought of everything.  No corner is left undecorated--no questions are left dangling.  He has spooked me (I mean, what IF there were a plague that turned us into these awful creatures???) and has boggled my mind a little bit.  So I would highly recommend that you let him boggle yours.

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