Zone One by Colson Whitehead



Zone One is a thinking person's zombie novel. It's darkly funny, self-aware, and it's very, very smart. While most zombie novels focus on the landscape of how things have changed, the tone of Zone One is a meditation on how things remain the same. From corporate culture to branding to the protagonists previous job in his previous life as a social media coordinator, the vestiges of all of the things that contribute to the ennui of modern life are still there, in one form or another. Sure, we're not all wandering around glued to our smartphones ruminating about last night's episode of everyone's favorite sitcom, but the undead executive assistant that almost takes our protagonist's arm off has the star's haircut.

It's several years after the apocalypse, and really, the novelty has worn off. 

Those who live still go about their day to day, yearning for something different. For our protagonist (or as close as it gets in this wasted landscape) Mark Spitz — a self-proclaimed "solid B student/employee/human" dwell on the dreary sameness. Sure the cast of characters now includes flesh-eating abominations, but there's still paperwork.

For those who thought that there's really nothing new to do with zombies, this is another refreshing change, and one that visits the world-weariness of Chuck Palahniuk, who's almost always, especially in his earlier work is dealing with those who, despite insane situations, are just trying to get by. Whitehead's cast shares a lot with Palahniuk's world, especially the longing sense of wanting to be somewhere else. Unfortunately, in Whitehead's world, there's just not a lot of upward mobility.


Super quick read, and now I'm just excited to read more of Whitehead's work. If I'm correct (and I really do not know much about him other than his newest, Underground Railroad received all manner of critical acclaim. It's on my list, and if Zone One is any indication, I have a LOT to look forward to. 
Previous
Next Post »
0 Comments