Zone One

A Novel

Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Zone One
Random House, Inc.
In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted 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 civilization 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—but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety—the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.

And then things start to go wrong.

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

Baker & Taylor
In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague.

& Taylor

In a post-apocalyptic world decimated by zombies, survivor efforts to rebuild are focused on Manhattan, where civilian team member Mark Spitz works to eliminate remaining infected stragglers and remembers his horrifying experiences at the height of the zombie plague. By the Whiting Writers' Award-winning author of Sag Harbor.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385528078
Branch Call Number: FIC W
Characteristics: 259 p. ; 25 cm.


From the critics

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Jun 02, 2014

The writing style of this book is very interesting. I can't decide if I hate it or like it but given that I finished reading the book I guess it was readable. My frustration is without using dates or some other type of indicator it could really take a while for the reader to understand whether this was a flashback story or part of the current timeline. A simple change would have made this a much more enjoyable read.

May 07, 2014
  • wac6 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Finished reading this book Aug. 8, 2012. It sagged in the middle but finished really well.

I wrote up a review of the book, which compares it to the E.B. White classic, "Here Is New York." Link to that review:

Jan 28, 2013
  • JohnShaft2089 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is literature, plain and simple.

If all you're looking for is zombie splattering gore, you will be sorely disappointed.

If you want to actually feel the agony of the characters as they attempt to internalize a dying world, this is your book.

While there is some, this is a book that aims for ambience over action, and largely succeed. This book is the most engrossed I've ever felt in this literary sub-genre (which admittedly, the competition isn't all that fierce).

Sep 24, 2012
  • Nords rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

One of the better zombie apocalypse novels out there. This one is much more 'regular fiction' than 'genre fiction' and hence it takes a bit to get used to the author's style. Some reviewers have noted it is tough to figure out whether the action is in the past or present (or a number of different time periods the book takes place in) but didn't have that. I loved how the main character is pretty normal and relate-able despite being messed up due to what he has gone through. The actual descriptions (or at least illusions to) how society collapsed is quite chilling and it is scary to think about how mankind fighting back may not succeed either. I like how the book doesn't try to answer all questions either. Still, if you like zombie fiction, SF/Fantasy, post-apocalyptic fiction, you'll like this.

Aug 31, 2012
  • bigbearomaha rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I thought the story was good. However, there was too much "fluff" detail added which brought the pace down. It made the book really drag at multiple points.

It was OK to read the once, but I don't see myself reading it again.

Jun 08, 2012
  • FlagrantMary rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I am a fan of zombie fiction and this is one of the best. It's told in a literary style that makes you fill in the blank spaces. It flips between time periods but rarely pre-apocalypse. The "hero" has a shell-shocked seeming narrative that works well with the action.

Jun 02, 2012
  • bthurston rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

While I enjoyed the book, it seemed to drag on at times.... the bottom line for me is that it didn't live up to its expectations as one of the best books of the year. it's a fine read, but nothing special by any stretch of the imagination.

May 06, 2012
  • jquickmsw rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Whitehead clearly adores the sound of his own voice, but that's a big part of the problem. The language is so filled with curlicues that everything takes a loooong time to describe/explain, and the verbal flourishes seem to be there for their own sake. Word nerd that I am, that's not enough to make me dislike a book. Not entirely, anyway. But is there a plot? Not that I could tell (though I confess I stopped wondering, and reading, at around 100 pages). Did I care about any of the characters? Not even slightly. Is it funny? Uh-uh. Are there better apocalyptic/zombie books out there. Oh, yeah. Many. I should have stopped reading at page 50, but with all the praise on the jacket back, I kept thinking "It must be me." But you know what? Is wasn't.

Apr 29, 2012
  • wildstrawberries rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

If you are looking to read a story packed with blood and gore look elsewhere. If you are looking to read a very interesting story about the events after an apocalyptic virus zombifies the majority of the population through the experiences of ironically nicknamed Mark Spitz then this is the book for you. Do not expect MacArthur Fellowship award winner Whitehead to dumb down any language for you, instead he concentrates on crafting beautifully executed prose that amount to relevant and at times heart-wrenching observations about the human experience and cultural issues of identity and disconnection to other human beings. Whitehead uses the zombie metaphor well by placing the epicenter in New York, the seat of human consumption and most recent witness to the greed and avarice of Wall Street that collapsed the economy.

Mar 27, 2012
  • ohtethys rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was a great read - yes the language is more literary than a zombie novel but what is really interesting is the aspect of a zombie apocalypse that the author covers: the rebuilding. He has great insight into the emotions people who have survived the horror are going through. I really really liked this book.

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