A very short review of Zone One

@colsonwhitehead’s Zone One astonishes; it feasts on zombie apocalypse tradition with gusto. Even its epigraphs index its originality (ironically): they sample Benjamin, and Pound – and Public Enemy.

Zone One is to the zombie apocalypse genre a bit like what Battlestar Galactica is to space opera, in that I see myself recommending it to others with a pitch like “it’s not like regular zombie apocalypse novels – just read it.” It is as literary a take on the genre as you will find south of Pontypool, to which it merits some comparison on this basis. But these novels evince the literary – not to mention the critical and theoretical – in very different ways. Burgess’ Pontypool Changes Everything trafficks in surreal détournement; Whitehead’s Zone, in epic realism. They complement each other aptly (and, in the process, represent telling national-cultural contrasts).

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