Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Zone One

Colson Whitehead

Following a taskforce in Manhattan over 3 days as they remove the debris and zombie stragglers that remain after a plague, we face memories of life from before the outbreak, the event itself, and the tedious fight for survival that endures. Written with a wry humour, especially about materialism and corporate US, this clever apocalypse novel will disappoint if you want gore but for a subtle sense of foreboding it would be hard to find better.

Extract

It was a new day. Now, the people were no longer mere survivors, half-mad refugees, a pathetic, shit-flecked, traumatized herd, but the 'American Phoenix'. The more popular diminutive pheenie had taken off in the settlements, which also endured their round of cosmetics, as Camp 14 was rechristened New Vista, and Boanoke became Bubbling Brooks. Mark Spitz's first civilian camp was Happy Acres, and indeed everyone's mood did brighten a bit on seeing that name on the gate next to the barbed wire and electric fencing. Mark Spitz thought the merchandise helped out a lot, too, the hoodies and sun visors and such. The frigid hues and brittle lines of the logo conformed to a very popular design trend in the months preceding Last Night, and it was almost as if the culture was picking up where it left off.

Parallels
  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse by John Joseph Adams (ed.)
  • The Colossus of New York: A City in Thirteen Parts by Colson Whitehead

Books with similar mood

Time on my Hands

Giorgio Vasta

The Daylight Gate

Jeanette Winterson

The Blindman's Garden

Nadeem Aslam

The Last Girl

Stephan Collishaw

Only Killers and Thieves

Paul Howarth

The Dinner

Herman Koch

The Collaborator

Mirza Waheed

Silence

Shusaku Endo

Woman of the Ashes

Mia Couto

Melmoth

Sarah Perry

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear

Atiq Rahimi

A Mouthful of Glass

Henk van Woerden

Terra Nullius

Clare G. Coleman

Helium

Jaspreet Singh

Windows on the World

Frederic Beigbeder

North

Roger Hubank

The Concrete Sea

John Dalton

The Fishermen

Chigozie Obioma

In Praise of Hatred

Khaled Khalifa

Where I Left My Soul

Jerome Ferrari

Runt

Niall Griffiths

A Golden Age

Tahmima Anam

The Story of Forgetting

Stefan Merrill Block

Welcome to Braggsville

T Geronimo Johnson

Jakob's Colours

Lindsay Hawdon

The Hunger Angel

Herta Muller

The Origin of Violence

Fabrice Humbert

Birds Without Wings

Louis De Bernieres

Arkady

Patrick Langley

Crystal Wedding

Xu Xiaobin

Shelter

Jung Yun

Taduno's Song

Odafe Atogun

The Emperor of Lies

Steve Sem-Sandberg

An Unfinished Business

Boualem Sansal

The Archivist's Story

Travis Holland

The Fortress

Mesa Selimovic

The Accusation: Forbidden Stories from Inside North Korea

Bandi .

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone

Sasa Stanisic

The Swallows of Kabul

Yasmina Khadra

The Delivery Room

Sylvia Brownrigg

Afterlife

Sean O'Brien

Dogs at the Perimeter

Madeleine Thien

The Secret History of Costaguana

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Man Gone Down

Michael Thomas

The Bleeding of the Stone

Ibrahim Al-Koni

Lea

Pascal Mercier

The Fireman

Joe Hill

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Richard Flanagan

The Daughters of Mars

Thomas Keneally