Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Zone OneZone One by Colson Whitehead

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book. I really did. It sounded right up my alley but I just didn't enjoy a moment of reading this novel. A zombie literary novel ... um, heck yeah. But, it didn't work for me. At all. This is a book that I almost gave up on multiple times. I stuck with it because I'd heard so many good things ... I kept hoping that it would get better. Unfortunately, it did not.

This is a really well written novel but I just couldn't get behind the story ... or the characters ... or the world ... or anything else beyond beautiful writing. There was an utter lack of depth and emotion to the novel that was frustrating to me. The characters were cardboard. I frankly could care less about the world Colson Whitehead created or the people that he placed in that world. I understand that Whitehead was likely using the shallowness and detachment as a tool but I don't think it was done effectively. Instead of conveying mood, it just made the book difficult to drag through.

There were passages in the novel that just took my breath away with their beauty. But beautiful writing couldn't save this novel for me. It's missing most of the things that I enjoy in a novel and I just couldn't get over that.

Since this is my first Colson Whitehead novel, I'm really struggling with whether or not I should pursue his other works, particularly if this novel is representative of his work.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this novel. There are so many other novels out there that are worth the time and effort but, in my opinion, this one is not. Which makes me rather sad because I had such hope that it would blow me away ... zombie literary fiction ... it could have been amazing.

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