Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Overall Impression: Ehhh… 3 out of 5 stars
Joyce Carol Oates is an incredible author. She’s prolific and her writing style is raw, sometimes gritty, always disturbing. For all of these reasons, I adore her and count her among my all-time favorites. With that said, I’ll always pick up one of her books if I’m out in a store, see them, and am in the need of a book to read and won’t think twice about it. Eventually, I’d like to say that I’ve read all of her work, so I just grab what’s there and catches my eye at the time. So, I’m not sure what it says about me that I recently saw Zombie at a Borders going out of business sale and purchased it based solely off this blurb:
He is the most believable and thoroughly terrifying sexual psychopath and killer ever to be brought to life in fiction, as Joyce Carol Oates achieves her boldest and most brilliant triumph yet-a dazzling work of art that extends the borders of the novel into the darkest heart of truth.
Oates outdoes herself in this book – I always expect her to make me feel a little uncomfortable and to force me to put myself in the shoes, into the heart and soul, of a character that is a little evil and/or a whole lot of dark. The format of this novel draws you into the private thoughts of the main character – the pages are set up like a personal diary for his daily thoughts and plots for abduction and murder. This format exemplifies one of my absolute favorite aspects of her writing – each novel, each short story, is entirely unique and individual. She possesses a nonpareil ability to slip into the skin of her characters completely. All of the words from the first sentence to the last are 100% that of the characters, right down to misspellings and, sometimes, grammatical errors.
As for the title – while I didn’t expect any zombies in the novel, the relationship to zombies was surprising to me, so perhaps it will be surprising to you if you choose to read this book for yourself, therefore I won’t get too into detail about that aspect of this work. Hopefully it’s as surprising to you as it was to me, but the main character’s obsession with this specific idea will possibly make you never look at zombies the same way again.
In the end, I felt like I needed to go to Confession, which makes this novel both a triumph and something that I don’t feel like I would want to read again. For these reasons, my “rating” is 3 out of 5 stars.
Photo Source: http://www.uqpu.net/zombieguide/