Let me preface this review by saying that Colson Whitehead can do no wrong in my mind. At least when it comes to writing books, I don't know about his personal life. One thing that I love about his writing is that he has a way of making you believe that every word is true by placing outlandish scenarios in an everyday context. Whether it is elevator repair in The Intuitionist, advertising in Apex Hides the Hurt, or freelance writing in John Henry Days, I hung on every word as gospel.
In Zone One, Whitehead tackles the aftermath of an event that has turned the majority of the population into zombies. Unlike other books or movies that focus on the cause and gore and escape from these creatures, he instead chooses to chronicle the machinations involved in bouncing back from such a thing. Mark Spitz (not his real name) is a civilian volunteer for a sweeper unit tasked with cleaning out the zombie stragglers in Manhattan after the military has dealt with the bulk of the infected. We follow Spitz and his team over the course of three days as they go through the motions of their unusual task.
What I loved most about Zone One is the attention to detail given to things that I doubt other "zombie apocalypse" books miss. Like, what would you miss from your old life? What songs would you like to hear again? What food do you miss eating? Whitehead's attention to these kind of details are why I am a huge fan.
Sidenote: In July while reading the book, I tweeted that Colson Whitehead is the only author for whom I will read a book about zombies. And he replied:
@mshoni I wrote it for you!