We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Zone One: A Novel | [Colson Whitehead]

Zone One: A Novel

In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan.
Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.

Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuild­ing civilization under orders from the provisional govern­ment based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka Zone One - but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety - the “malfunctioning” stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives.

Mark Spitz is a member of one of the civilian teams work­ing in lower Manhattan. Alternating between flashbacks of Spitz’s desperate fight for survival during the worst of the outbreak and his present narrative, the novel unfolds over three surreal days, as it depicts the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, and the impossible job of coming to grips with the fallen world.

And then things start to go wrong.

Both spine chilling and playfully cerebral, Zone One bril­liantly subverts the genre’s conventions and deconstructs the zombie myth for the twenty-first century.

©2011 Colson Whitehead (P)2011 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"A satirist so playful that you often don't even feel his scalpel, Whitehead toys with the shards of contemporary culture with an infectious glee. Here he upends the tropes of the zombie story in the canyons of lower Manhattan. Horror has rarely been so unsettling, and never so grimly funny." (The Daily Beast)

"Highbrow novelist Colson Whitehead plunges into the unstoppable zombie genre in this subtle meditation on loss and love in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan, which has become the city that never dies." (USA Today)

"For-real literary - gory, lyrical, human, precise." (GQ)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (202 )
5 star
 (34)
4 star
 (56)
3 star
 (49)
2 star
 (43)
1 star
 (20)
Overall
3.2 (175 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (45)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (32)
1 star
 (21)
Story
3.5 (178 )
5 star
 (36)
4 star
 (59)
3 star
 (48)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Annie Toronto 01-06-12
    Annie Toronto 01-06-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    189
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    386
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    32
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tomorrow needs a marketing rollout."

    Everything they say about this book is true. It is slow, confusing, and lacking action...AND it is funny as hell and breathtakingly beautiful.

    I don't want to get into a "literary fiction" vs. "mass market fiction" argument here. This book is just not going to do it for a lot of people, and it has nothing to do with education, intelligence, status, etc.

    I was almost one of those people. I have a Master's degree in English Lit., but I gave up most serious literature years ago for good, pulpy fun. I spent much of the first two hours listening to Zone One while secretly composing in my head a scathing review about how dull and pointless it seemed.

    Then something happened. I got it. I went back to the beginning and listened again. When I got to the end, I went back to the middle for yet another go.

    What I found was a moving story, excellent character development, sharply written lines (like the one I used for my headline above), some social commentary (though perhaps a bit obvious...yes, we know, modern folk DO act like the walking dead much of the time), and a different way of looking at the zombie apocalypse.

    So I loved it, but you may not. Still, I believe there is room in the genre for Zone One.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Belford, NJ, United States 01-13-12
    Jeff Belford, NJ, United States 01-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the next great american author I was hoping"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If I knew that I'd be a bestselling author.


    What was most disappointing about Colson Whitehead’s story?

    The sly, insightful evisceration of american culture was just tired. Seemed as if he was writing with a thesaurus next to his computer.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Struggled with pacing and incorrect emphasis of words endlessly. Hard to follow


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Hey, it had zombies, at least.


    Any additional comments?

    Sorry, Colson's no Franzen, and Beresford's no Simon Vance.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin NASHVILLE, TN, United States 11-03-11
    Benjamin NASHVILLE, TN, United States 11-03-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I got this before there were reviews"

    Agreed with several other folks, it was really tough to get through this, in fact I couldn't finish it. The writing was very metaphor-filled and the jumping around in time was really tough to manage. I listen to audio books while driving and this one took a LOT of effort to follow, and at about the 3/4 point, I gave up. I didn't care about any of the characters and I didn't understand why so little was happening.

    It was written, well in the sense that it was beautiful how he painted pictures of things, but it was tough to care.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul M Joy Jr 10-21-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Zombie like pacing"

    First review for here but this book demands one. The story is told from current perspective with so many flashbacks and introspective moments that you lose the current story all together. I found myself fast forwarding to try and get to some current action but this book is too all over the place. The main story seems to take place over 3 days in the current time but jumps all over the timeline of the disaster told in a dreary PTSD filled monologue. Save your credits or money on this book and get something else .

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor Chicago, IL, United States 02-16-12
    Victor Chicago, IL, United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "smarmy intellectual gives zombies a shot"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    we have the convergence of two sub-standard experiences: first, a bloated, overly verbose and self reflective text; second, a reading with too much stylization.

    Coleson Whithead is a darling of the intellectual literati, and for good reason. He is a talented and intelligent author, and I have enjoyed some of his shorter works as well as hearing him in interview. As a long-time fan of the zombie / post-apocalyptic genre, this book immediately piqued my interest.

    unfortunately it falls flat, tripping over its author's vocabulary and introspection and landing right on its face. A strong start get lost in a soupy miasma of reflections and memories of the protagonist which don't inspire any interest of excitement. Whitehead goes out of his way to make the protagonist, Mark, seem like an everyman; instead of making him relatable, Whitehead succeeds only in limiting Mark to gray tones. will Mark make it through the novel alive? who cares? he's so boring and unremarkable I can't imagine being bothered one way or the other.

    on a technical level the book is hindered by an overuse of the author's extensive vocabulary; too many overwrought sentences bulging with pretentious synonyms for common words.regarding the reading: this performer reads like an aspiring actor, or an enthusiastic stage performer reciting someone else's poetry. every sentence is pregnant with meaning, and sounds like it should be accompanied by a soul-bearing stare into a camera. again: sometimes less is more.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Colson Whitehead again?

    Probably not. I am familiar with his other work, though this is the only novel of his that I have read. I find his writing to be exactly the kind of thing that makes intelligent people scoff and roll their eyes at The New Yorker Magazine; very intelligent, but far too self reflective and all style over substance.


    How could the performance have been better?

    again, less is more. I think this reading would have succeeded with a more flat and somber reading, given the subject matter. instead the narrator seems to relish the delivery of each line, and his enthusiasm is distracting and overwrought.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Zone One?

    there are frequent, pointless forays into navel-gazing regarding the protagonist's past that don't come to much. these passages should either be given more weight or eliminated all together.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't help but wonder if I would have preferred this book if I had read it instead of listened to it. I don't know if that says anything about Coleson Whithead, but it speaks to the reader / performer for sure.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-21-11
    12-21-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's amazing that this even got published!"
    What disappointed you about Zone One?

    Ever hold a conversation with someone that you felt wanted you to think of them as being super smart. well this book was written by that person. It was so difficult to follow, mostly because I needed a dictionary to get an understanding of every word. And, I'm no idiot. The verbiage was overly complex. So much so, that I at times found myself laughing aloud at how ridiculously difficult the phrases were to understand.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have written it so that even people with


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Beresford Bennett?

    My nine year old reads with a more natural flow than the narrator of this book.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Dulles, VA, United States 01-09-13
    Bruce Dulles, VA, United States 01-09-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stream of conciousness in the interregnum"

    I am a fan of the post apocalyptic, zombie, last man on Earth genres. It was that interest and the numerous positive Audible reviews which led me to purchase this book.
    On a positive note, the story is set in a time which is not typically featured in stories in this genre, i.e., after the zombie apocalypse has run it's course and a previously collapsed human society has revived enough to be organized to support a zombie clean-up effort and restoration of organized human society with bureaucracies and institutions. This period known as "the interregnum" is a word that the author introduced me to, over and over again.
    I listened to roughly 2/3 of the book before I finally gave-up,... why? Well, I really had difficulty staying focused on the story (something which is not common for me) because the stream of consciousness nature of the story. It jumps from the present to the past and back again all in a few minutes of listening while at the same time using literary illusions that constantly took me out of the story and made me suspect that the author was showing-off his vast vocabulary. After hours of listening I didn't feel like I knew the characters and worse... I didn't care to. Perhaps my experience was doomed in the telling? The reader had a way of reading that really grated on me (a lilt at the end of his sentences perhaps?). Listen to a sample before you purchase!
    Wait for the "Zone One" movie featuring Brad Pitt, I suspect the movie will be more entertaining than the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    angelrbb Burleson, TX 08-23-12
    angelrbb Burleson, TX 08-23-12 Member Since 2011

    I'm a big fan of horror, sci-fi, dystopian, and post apocalyptic novels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what I expected..."

    When I buy a zombie novel, I expect plenty of gratuitous violence and absolutely no redeeming "literary" qualities. This book seemed more like a grad student's commentary on society with zombies thrown in to make it palatable. If you want to read something that your post-modern lit teacher would approve of that just happens to have zombies, this book might work for you. But if you want to read something for pure entertainment value, skip it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary A. Rosenberg 08-20-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "awful"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    if it had a plot, a good story, god characters, anything to make it interesting


    Would you ever listen to anything by Colson Whitehead again?

    What was interesting was the idea of a plaque that could wipe out the human race, but how they behaved and what they did was ridiculous and not realistic. The idea that they would have bid corporations still sponsoring products was absurd and I am a liberal.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Beresford Bennett’s performances?

    no


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The narrator was good


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Westminster, MD, United States 08-18-12
    Scott Westminster, MD, United States 08-18-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Yeah, I get it, but..."

    Intriguing take on zombies and full of interesting ideas, but probably better for those that don't normally read horror and figure its all worthless pulp (which of course a good bit of it is). The idea of zombies as social commentary with a few laughs has been done before and better (Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" blows this into the weeds). And the idea of a "literary writer" tackling genre fiction is not necessarily new and can be excellent (Le Carre's spy novels or Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"), but sometimes it can be awkward (I'm thinking Martin Amis' ill-advised take on Elmore Leonard, "Night Train"). Still, I was game and stuck with it until the end.

    I was able to get past the pacing, but ultimately I think this novel collapses under the weight of its language. There is too much unneeded description and clever turns of phrase and too it often drained scenes of their impact and at times seemed a bit too precious. I'm more than happy to work through pages of character development and back story, and make no mistake Mark Spitz is a great character, although I found the name distracting (I kept thinking why not Michael Phelps? - okay, I'm from Maryland, so shoot me), but I prefer not to be constantly reminded that I am reading "literature." This seems to be what ultimately makes the novel drag. Good writing is unobstrusive, not constantly in your face.

    Ultimately a horror novel needs to scary. It can be an "idea" novel or satire or a comment on our decaying culture, but if you're going to have zombies (even ironic ones) and a zippy name like "Zone One," you better build some serious suspense and have some serious scares. In the end, while I applaud the effort, it just didn't do it for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 35 results PREVIOUS124NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.