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.
Colson Whitehead brings dark humor and contemporary insight to a classic zombie story of survival set amongst the ruins of New York City. While Whitehead's post-plague New York may at first recall post-9/11 Ground Zero, the story quickly goes off in new directions as his narrator provides a hilariously sardonic perspective on the whole situation. Before the plague hit, Mark Spitz went by a different name, and he lived a trend-driven and information-saturated urban life. He now bears a new name--one he earned in a post-plague battle--and he is a member of Team Omega, which patrols Zone One, a barricaded part of lower Manhattan below Canal Street. Omega's goal is to keep the "skels," as the infected zombies are called, at bay. Meanwhile, the action of an excellent zombie story propels this book along at a fabulously quick pace, as Whitehead reveals compelling back-story details about Spitz and explores the existential questions of the genre with cleverness and inventiveness.
- Juvenile Fiction, Fiction + Literature Genres
- October 18, 2011
- October 18, 2011
- Colson Whitehead