In this truly epic novel, we follow a variety of different characters as they deal with this new version of zombies. What a trip!
From a young, black woman in a trailer park to a Japanese officer on an American navy boat; from a woman who inputs medical information into a national database, to a Spanish medical examiner and his assistant, Charlene; (hey, that’s my name!), we travel all across the nation over the span of 15 years or so. What’s different about these zombies? Why isn’t this the same old zombie story, that Romero himself invented? You’ll have to read this to find out!
What made this different for me, (and Romero did this in his films too,) was the focus on consumption and the American need to have everything, to have the best, to be better than the next. There was also a bit of climate change commentary in here. In fact, there was a good amount of philosophy within these pages. Does Mother Nature reach out to protect herself when she’s used and abused? Does the world, or our environment, do the same? Does humanity need a reset button at times, to get things back to an even keel? Has this happened in the past? Will it happen the future? All valid questions to be sure.
Combine all these philosophical issues with a cast of characters that is truly memorable and you have yourself the nearly perfect novel that is THE LIVING DEAD. I found myself thinking about THE STAND quite a bit-there are some similarities: a large cast of characters to start, all in different places and situations across the United States. Of course the cast eventually come together and over the course of more than a decade we see how they’ve changed or not, as the case may be.
Another thing these books have in common is that they both made this black heart cry. (Acocella will always have a place in my heart.) And never again will I hear about the La Brea Tar Pits and not shed a tear. The only issue I had with this novel is that it is so long. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I think a tiny bit could have been cut without damaging the story as a whole. For that I deducted half a star.
So, let’s wrap up here! A novel of epic proportions? Check! A novel filled with characters that feel real and that the reader cares for? Check! Major differences in these zombies from the zombies populating so much of American culture? BIG check! A novel in which you can immerse yourself until you emerge, battered, but stronger for it? Check! I really loved this novel if you couldn’t tell by now and I give it my highest recommendation!
Available here: THE LIVING DEAD
*Thank you to TOR for the paperback in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*