If popular television series THE WALKING DEAD merged with the psychological writing world of Don DeLillo, then Zone One, by Colson Whitehead, would be the result. Having never read Colson Whitehead before, but eager to devour another post-apocalyptic America zombie tale, I started this book with low expectations—how many more times can one tell a zombie story?-- but from the first chapter on, I was pleasantly, repeatedly surprised.
The writing is exquisite. This is a book about loss, about identity, about rebuilding. As meaning of survival changes, each of the characters attempts to maintain their own version of hope, even as they face repeated destruction. It begs the question, “how many times can the world end?” It makes the reader wonder, “what version of your own tale is the true one?”
There are no clear answers; even the story of Mark Spritz (whose name is amusingly explained as the story unfolds) is filled with half-truths, confusing histories, and unconfirmed future dreams. As he attempts to navigate the reclaiming of Manhattan after the zombie-inducing plague, things continue to break down. The narrative holds the reader’s attention, reaching a conclusion that is well crafted, and appropriate—a rare accomplishment in this genre of fiction.
Complicated, intelligent, and refreshing in its presentation, ZONE ONE is a must-read for anyone eager to understand the navigation of survival in dystopia.
- Tina Panik
Stop by the library and pick up a copy today.
Thanks for reading. Questions and comments are encouraged below.