The reviews are in, and they pretty much agree on one point: don’t wait for the end of the world to pick up a copy of Colson Whitehead’s Zone One, which CNN identifies as “a zombie novel with real brains.” It’s not all doom and gloom; the Seattle Times assures us that this “juicy experiment” is “as cheeky as it is bleak.” And you won’t have any trouble getting to the end of the novel. As Michael Bourne writes at The Millions, “the last fifty pages of Zone One all but turn themselves.”
Critics and commentators have unearthed the deeper questions lurking within the book’s thrilling prose. Alex Pappademas, writing for Grantland, puts it rather directly: “It’s about how everything we’ve convinced ourselves is important is really just a metaphorical stack of furniture piled up in front of the metaphorical door to keep the metaphorical zombies out.” Maggie Galehouse at the Houston Chronicle, though, looks at it from the other side of the mirror in her review: “The implicit question: Have we all become zombies? Are 21st-century Americans wandering around in a stupor, drinking designer coffee from designer mugs, ordering the same modular sofas from the same big box retailers, standing in trances before copying machines in drab office buildings coast to coast?” Ta-Nahesi Coates at the Atlantic says Whitehead’s novel is further proof that there is no literary vs. genre debate – “Art comes from actual humans in actual places.” The Atlantic also ran a probing interview with Colson, or you can listen to him explain the types of zombies to Terri Gross on Fresh Air.
So, whether you like a good horror flick or a deep literary discussion, you’ll find both the meat and the potatoes in this great new book. Watch this space for further updates over the next weeks as reviews continue to come in.