In this brilliantly original take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, American novelist Colson Whitehead shakes up the zombie genre with genius results.
A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilisation under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka 'Zone One' - eliminating the most dangerous plague victims, but pockets of infected squatters remain. Teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out the 'malfunctioning' stragglers who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives, but who are lethal when roused.
Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams working in lower Manhattan. The novel alternates between flashbacks of Spitz's desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, unfolding over three surreal days as he undertakes the mundane mission of straggler removal, suffers the rigours of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and attempts to come to terms with a fallen world.
And then things start to go wrong.