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Not sure that Literary Zombies work
on 3 May 2016
I love a good zombie book, so when this one was recommended to me (at an academic conference of all places) as being a literary take on the genre, I thought I'd give it a try.
I've got to say, after reading it I'm not at all sure that the "literary zombie" works. The first section read as overwritten with far too much description. In fact, this continues throughout the novel (why use one word when eighty will do?) and as a result it gets hard to follow where in the narrative you are with the main character, Mark Spitz. There's an awful lot of introspection/how he got where he was which is mingled with the main action and it can sometimes be hard to follow the train of thought.
That said, after the first third (where I nearly gave up), I started to get it a bit more. This, it seemed to me, is a satire on how we live now (like zombies) - it's all too easy to see yourself as one of the stragglers that Mark Spitz is clearing up. I loved the idea that Mark Spitz had the feeling that optimism (hope for the returning world) would destroy the human race. (At the same academic conference where this was recommended to me, the notion of "cruel optimism" was discussed - the feeling that things will get better when they never do and never will which undoes people).
This was okay as a book - I had to read it in one sitting or I would have given up completely and also lost my thread. It's not the best zombie book I've ever read, but it is a thoughtful one.