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Zone One [Paperback]

Colson Whitehead
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Sep 2012

A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. The worst of the plague is now past, and Manhattan is slowly being resettled. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka 'Zone One' and teams of civilian volunteers are clearing out the remaining infected 'stragglers'.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of these taskforces and over three surreal days he undertakes the mundane mission of malfunctioning zombie removal, the rigours of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and attempting to come to terms with a fallen world.

But then things start to go terribly wrong.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Sep 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099570149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099570141
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"When I finished reading this exhilarating, heartbreaking book, I realised that, in fact, I'd just read one of the best literary novels of the year" (Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday)

"Profoundly thoughtful... Zone One is a dark mirror, to be sure, but there is no doubt it is our own age that is being scrutinised here" (New Statesman)

"Punchy cocktail of horror, comedy and social critique" (Metro)

"A dark futuristic satire laced with fiendish humour" (The Times)

"Often simultaneously arch and sombre, Whitehead's narrative flares with a sociological intelligence" (Benjamin Evans Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

The most chilling, witty and downright beautifully written Zombie novel you'll ever read.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Apocalyptic Stress Disorder 19 Oct 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best post-apocalypse/zombie/survival novels I've read since last year's The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell. Lovely writing captures the dislocation, madness and loneliness of survivors as they try to rebuild their world and come to terms with all they've seen and lost. The story is told over three days in the life of a civilian "sweeper" Mark Spitz with often jarring flashbacks to his life before the plague and during his battle for survival in the wastelands.

If you're looking for page after page of gore then you will be disappointed. This is a strange, smart and haunting book that has a lot to say and it will live in the memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zone One 17 April 2014
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The action in this book takes place over three days – Friday, Saturday, Sunday. But the main narration is from the perspective of one man, known these days as Mark Spitz, and he spends an awful lot of time thinking about the old days before The Last Night. This has the unfortunate effect of slowing down the action which is actually taking place right now, in front of him, most of which he is involved in, and his introspective pauses seem to last for an awfully long time, usually when he is being attacked by a ‘hostile’. Unrealistic? Definitely – but there is a germ of a great story hiding in between all the deep thinking.

Mark is one of the crew working their way through Manhattan, cleaning out the last of the ‘skels’ and ‘stragglers’ preparatory to the big plan to rebuild the city; to start to claim back the country. And it is in these situations that we hear his story; what his life had been like, what it could have been like, but never thinking about what the future could hold – living for the next five minutes was one victory at a time. To envisage a future is forbidden.

I kept reading this book because I wanted to know how the story panned out, but I did find the constant to’ing and fro’ing in the timeline made the journey a rather disjointed one. It detracted from the overall impact of what the story could have been, and ultimately the read is a rather disappointing one, largely because of the writing and narrative style. A pity; quite good, but could have been a lot better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Dan85
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For summary skip to end

I was looking around the web for decent books of this genre and this one seemed to crop up alot so i thought i'd give it a go and i really wanted to enjoy it.

The truth is i found it dull and rambling and brimming with pointless melancholic reflection and introspective pondering. If you like Zombie/post apocalyptic stories where exciting things happen to characters you want to survive, avoid this like the T-Virus.

Some probably like this kind of thing where the character (who has a stupid name) looks at a door handle then goes off into a whimiscal ten page essay on how his uncle had a door handle once. Then they look out the window and you have to slog through another several pages of the character wistfully musing about some windows they looked through in their childhood. Then when an actual zombie attacts, instead of a bit of action or violence your left reading about how the zombie's clothes vaguley resemble an old teacher of his and have to endure yet more tortured, contemplative drivel.

Forget the walking dead, it was me who needed a pick axe through the skull.

Summary: I didn't like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull attempt at Zombie Story. 12 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not often I don't finish a book no matter how dull. But this story just drags. On and on about the characters. The past. The epidemic and yet somehow it never manages to build any of these things convincingly. If you want a post zombie holocaust story look elsewhere. This book is dull as dishwater and an example of someone spending too long on what the characters are thinking when no story is happening. Perhaps in the end the story will begin but I gave up before that point.

Books like Gormenghast can manage a tale where nothing happens, but the language and world built here does simply not support the long dull. When I was a boy running through the field, before the end of the world crap we are fed here. Sorry author but in my opinion this book, it is not very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth it 8 Oct 2013
By shtove
Format:Paperback
Was looking forward to this, but almost abandoned it out of boredom 1/3 way through. I picked it up again and was glad I finished.

Everyone knows this is a literary novelist's take on the genre, so it's not a screenplay in disguise. But I really think he should have used a standard device - say, the ticking-clock countdown to an event - to give structure and move the plot along. He even had an event for the countdown, the convention of delegates in zone one, but I only found out about this about half way through and in the meantime had to put up with the random observations and reminiscences of a few undramatic characters during a badly-defined period of three days. Surely if you send a squad of soldiers into the field you have to create an Aliens-style scene that establishes the essence of each character?

The mid-sequence flash-backs have been criticised for implausibility, but for me the confusion they created was most annoying. I had to track back a few times to find my bearings. And I didn't get a great sense of place.

But it is worth it. The pace picks up in the second half, the writing is mostly cool and amusing (some slang that bothered me), and the satire and criticism is good. The reflections on the past lives and the rights of the zombies (skels and stragglers) were good and surprising, and there was a general tone of the futility of the past. And the future? The post-apocalypse utopia turns out to be run by a delusional, wrist-slapping military bureaucracy, a mediocre world for mediocre people: Utopia still means Nowhere, which is different from the survivalist fantasy. Plus the ending has a nice joke about learning to swim.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars one paced -- where's the 'arrrghhh!!!!' factor?
This takes more effort to read than most zombie novels, but I wouldn't overstate its literary merits. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Brian_OWC
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Brilliant
Phenomenally well written. Part satire, part dystopian novel. The POV character, "Mark Spitz" (whose real name we never find out) sleep-walks through post-apocolypse... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cartwright
4.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary, thoughtful apocalypse
I went into this book without much prejudice - I've never read or watched much Zombie stuff and as a genre it never really interested me. Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. Beresford
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously boring
Couldn't make it through this book. It's so dull. It's like the second season of the walking dead, with the description of the hobbit.
Published 7 months ago by atari_pg
1.0 out of 5 stars No merit detected
This book was chosen, by a member, for our reading group. I also have to admit to being a member of the old f---s club. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Oasthouse
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best zombie stories I've read
I can't believe how refreshing this book is. After many poorly written examples of zombie fiction this book is a welcome change. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dr. Andrew Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Night of the Literary Dead
Mr. Whitehead has achieved the improbable, writing a zombie novel that allows literary characters to thrive in a pulp environment. Read more
Published 15 months ago by English Teacher
4.0 out of 5 stars Barren emptiness
There are two big differences between this book and any other decent zombie apocalypse novel that I have read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jackyd101
3.0 out of 5 stars It's all doom and gloom...
This is an unrelentingly miserable book. The zombies have attacked and have, for the most part, triumphed - a few small fortified camps have been set up but that's it, and by... Read more
Published 17 months ago by HarleyQ
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