I was surprised when I found out what Colson Whitehead’s latest novel was about (at this point, with The Walking Dead being what it is, I’ve sort of had my fill), but if anyone out there is currently working on something of this ilk they should quit while they’re ahead: this is the definitive piece of zombie literature. Taking place in the wake of a zombie-making plague, the novel follows a man who is part of a “sweeper team” dispatched to lower Manhattan, following military action, to make sure it’s clear so the island can be re-colonized. This is, of course, fertile territory for a horror story, but Whitehead delves deeper and I would go so far as to call it an exercise in existential horror, as well.
Bottom line: A beautifully written but unsettling look at a post-apocalyptic America. Oh, and if you currently live in New York, I’d exercise caution: this will hit close to home.
#21 We Need To Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
I have never been more disturbed by a book in my entire life. I’m fairly certain that it’s not considered a horror story, but I’m hard pressed to think of it as anything else. Recently turned into a movie, We Need To Talk About Kevin is told as a series of letters written by a woman to her estranged husband in the aftermath of their teenage son committing mass murder on his high school campus. Through this correspondence she revisits why she decided to become a mother and the choices she made once her son was born in the hopes of understanding what led to this event, which she refers to simply as Thursday. It’s a complicated (to put it mildly) portrait of parenthood and I don’t think I’ll be able to get it out of my mind for quite some time.
Bottom line: One of the best books I have ever read, but be prepared to be haunted by it.