Fans of zombie movies know that the genre is all about the breakdown of civilization. We’re riveted by the likes of George Romero, who takes delight in dissecting human interaction when the world literally goes to hell. Colson Whitehead delivers the literary equivalent with aplomb in his latest novel, Zone One (Doubleday, $25.95). His smooth narrative gives us the gory daily minutiae in a post-zombie, post-apocalypse Manhattan where an armed civilian team is sweeping through the city to rid it of the last vestiges of the dead. Our narrator, Mark Spitz, is a fascinating character, continually dodging death. Whitehead’s writing is cerebral, moving, and insightful. This is a deeply thought-out psychological survey of an everyman as the ultimate survivor, facing the wasteland.
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