By Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, $25.95, 259 pages

A pandemic has devastated the planet. Due to the plague, the uninfected and infected are at war – the living and the undead. In author Colson Whitehead’s novel Zone One, the worst of the worst is over and the resettlement of Manhattan is a top priority for the provisional government set up in Buffalo. Mark Spitz is a member of a group of civilian volunteers responsible for clean-up. He’ll discover whether or not the worst has really passed or if the end of the world is near. The title refers to the successfully reclaimed island surrounded by plague-ridden areas. This twenty-first century zombie myth switches between flashbacks of Spitz’s experience during the worst of the outbreak to his current narrative. Readers follow Spitz over three days in which time often slows down to give him a chance to reflect on life. Rather than completely focusing on the blood and gore typically found in zombie novels, Whitehead takes a more intellectual approach to analyzing a post-apocalyptic world. This translates to a bit of a boring read which is quite difficult to finish. Find one of the other more satisfying books in the genre to enjoy.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin