Zone One

Colson Whitehead is one of the best, and one of the most important American writers today. I picked up Zone One years ago on a whim. What I found I loved, but I’m not sure I could have predicted how much better he could be, winning Pulitzer Prizes for both The Underground Railroad and Nickel Boys.  I’m anxiously awaiting the publication Whitehead’s new book Harlem Shuffle. White we wait, here’s Zone One!

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Zone One takes place in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, and I know what you’re thinking: okay, zombie apocalypse, I’m out. But stay with me on this one. Usually zombie-fiction is about survival, guns, and blasting zombies into pieces. But Whitehead uses the aftermath of this catastrophic event as way to examine humanity when it must rebuild the world. The main character is Mark Spitz, one of the soldiers tasked with retaking Zone One (lower Manhattan) and clearing it of the un-dead. What surprised me most about this novel was how average Whitehead makes Mark Spitz. He’s just a guy with a job. In that way, he is able to pry into the mind of any human being that would be put in a situation like this. Humans have the tendency to want to go back to the way things were before catastrophic events, but you can only work with what you have. And it’s that part that feels more applicable now than the plague-y zombie-y stuff.  

I really recommend reading anything by Colson Whitehead. You can check out all that we have here: Howe Library Catalog – Colson Whitehead

And check out all our e-book and e-audiobook offerings here: NH Downloadable Books Consortium

– Mike

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