Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book 1: Zone One by Colson Whitehead

So I'm participating in this challenge this year and I'm going to do DARNIT! This is my first read of the year:

This novel, by Colson Whitehead, is the story of three days in New York City in the life of a fictional character named Mark Spitz. He and two of his contemporaries are "sweepers" and are scouting through Downtown Manhattan in the aftermath of some sort of apocalyptic plague, cleaning the area out and ensuring that it can, at some point, be resettled by people that have not contracted this plague or who haven't gone utterly crazy. The majority of the people that have contracted the plague are now undead and are called "skels" because they look more like skeletons than normal human beings. The majority of the skels have already been taken care of by the Marines that took over the island but it falls to Mark and the rest of the sweepers to dispatch any stragglers that were overlooked by the Marines.

The best part of this novel was the writing, quite frankly. Colson Whitehead is nothing if not a good writer in that he has a masterful use of the language and a phenomenal word choice. However, the wonder of the book ends there. I mean, the book is about a guy whose best quality is his mediocrity? Really?! There is absolutely no plot and no point to this novel. I found myself asking, at various points: "Who CARES?! Get to the POINT!" and yet no point ever came. Things kind of happen in the last thirty pages or so, but not really and it's so brief and so vague that if you are sick or drunk when you read it or you blink, you would miss it. I did really like being immersed in the world, which Whitehead does masterfully. If you're looking for a truly good zombie novel, this is not it. Try World War Z instead!

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