I loves me a good zombie story, so I was pleased to hear about Colson Whitehead‘s new novel, Zone One. Besides being a terrific writer, his tweets are funny as hell. Predictably, however, the reviewers of Zone One have had some trouble with the notion of of a literary writer writing about zombies. Publishers Weekly : “Whitehead dumpster dives genre tropes, using what he wants and leaving the rest to rot…” Kirkus: “[H]e sinks his teeth into a popular format and emerges with a literary feast…” Damn, condescension just put on a tweed jacket and grew a salt-and-pepper beard. (Though it is kind of funny to see Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” list Eugenides’s The Marriage Plot alongside The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor)
Via The Atlantic:
Colson Whitehead on Zombies, ‘Zone One,’ and His Love of the VCR
Outside of the world of general horror, there’s something specifically enticing about zombies right now. I’ve heard so many people say, breathlessly, “Colson Whitehead’s writing a zombie book.” What is it about the word “zombie” that gets people so excited?
In the last ten years, there’s been a resurgence in all kinds of zombie culture. Why are zombies important or interesting now? I have no idea. I wrote Zone One because I wanted to fulfill my own curiosity—which goes back decades—about the creatures.
So in terms of larger cultural trends, I have no idea. In terms of me, I became demonically attached to Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead, the first George Romero trilogy. Zone One comes out of me trying to work through some of my ideas about why, for me personally, zombies are scary.