This book was a pleasant surprise. Normally, I don’t get into Zombie post apocalyptic books (I’m looking at you, Cormack McCarthy), but this was written in such an interesting way that I couldn’t resist. The introduction tells of a world twelve years after WWZ. Life is getting back to normal as evidenced by government studies and statistical missions. The ‘editor’ of this oral history is horrified to find that his report that included many first person accounts from survivors has been redacted. So he decides to publish a book. The book comprises his interviews and weave an interesting story creating a world of broken lives and a cautionary tale about the powers of governments to both heal and hinder in an age of globalization. Though the narrator’s voice appears in the story as an interviewer, the personal tales of the story are what propel the narrative along.
The first person accounts show how the world changed over the course of years as different countries and people adopted specific policies to contain or confront the zombie’s spread.The accounts feel reasonably authentic, though I don’t feel Brooks is terribly diligent about maintaining differences between the different characters in terms of cultural expression. Granted, it would be a tall order to delve into linguistic intricacies of all the different nationalities that the narrator ‘interviewed’ so I was not hugely thrown out of the story, but every now and again I noticed. The book is compelling because it isn’t an “Oh my goodness are they going to live or die???” back and forth. You know that these are the stories of survivors. They are stories of the people that lived through tragedy and hold both the physical and emotional scars. Some stories were barely a few pages, and some were more involved. A few reappear at the end of the book, but most are just short storyesque recollections. Brooks manages to create an apocalypse and the aftermath.
This was a quick read. The short interviews force the reader to just keep reading. There is no happy ending, and that is the point. Though this book is fictional, I think any survivor of tragedy can relate that the experiences associated with survival are not static. There is very little black and white, and that is what I most enjoyed about World War Z. Brooks doesn’t try to answer heavy questions, he tries to show a snapshot of survival and confusion. I’d recommend this to people who like unique fiction.