November 22, 2011
By Patrick Sweeney
World War Z is not a manual. It isn't a list of useful tools, calibers, medicines, etc. It is a series of transcribed interviews of survivors of the plague.
Which means you are going to have to accept the author's interpretation of speaking styles, perspectives and scenes. What you do get, however, is a series of scenes that are practically exercises in script-writing.
If you grew up reading in the old, pre-movie style, where the author spends pages setting the scene and describing what everyone wears, drinks, smokes and drives, this won't be for you. But if you are attuned to the modern sensibility of "get to it" and want people in stressful situations, dealing with life and death, this will work for you.
What you won't get is what your professor/teacher in English tried to get you to like in their choice of novels; the growth of a character over the arc of a novel.
Growth? Arc? This is a zombie apocalypse we're talking about. Survival. Life and undead. "Growth" means surviving until tomorrow.
What I found interesting was not so much what was said or shown, but what wasn't: the woeful unpreparedness of officialdom, and the unwillingness of most to see what was happening before their eyes.
Which, I guess, is what makes us human, and not undead. That said, opinions are pretty strong on this one. You may want to read a few pages before you plunk down your cash. If in a few pages it doesn't click, move on. Otherwise, you'll have fun.
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