Zone One

Front Cover
Harvill Secker, 2011 - Epidemics - 259 pages
90 Reviews

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.

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Review: Zone One

User Review  - Caitlin - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this; it was a nice change of pace to read some dark zombie literature for once (think 28 Days Later, not Shaun of the Dead) - particularly when we have become so enthralled with the ... Read full review

Review: Zone One

User Review  - Connor - Goodreads

A literary zombie novel? Yes, it exists. Actually, there quite a few of them- Colson Whitehead's Zone One rates at the top, though. The name given to the post-traumatic stress experienced by the ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Colson Whitehead is the author of four previous novels, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt and Sag Harbor, as well as The Colossus of New York, a collection of essays. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has frequently hit the American bestseller lists. He lives in New York.


Twitter: @colsonwhitehead

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