Friday, February 18, 2011

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Book Details
Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Hardcover, 384 Pages
2010, Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN: 0312605250

In his new novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist does for zombies what his previous novel, Let the Right One In, did for vampires.

Across Stockholm the power grid has gone crazy. In the morgue and in cemeteries, the recently deceased are waking up. One grandfather is alight with hope that his grandson will be returned, but one husband is aghast at what his adored wife has become.

A horror novel that transcends its genre by showing what the return of the dead might really mean to those who loved them.

Handling the Undead isn't your average zombie story, which is both a good and a bad thing. Translated from its original Swedish, the story reads as one would expect. The language isn't always the easiest to understand and the flow of the story suffers because of it. John Ajvide Lindqvist took many liberties with known zombie mythology creating creatures of his own design. This made he story completely unexpected.

People come back to life all across Sweden after a strange electrical event. The zombies are little more than walking corpses, posing no threat except for their potential for spreading disease. The government is at a loss, having no idea what to do in this situation. As they flounder, people want access to their dead family members. Well, those who haven't hid their dead or taken the dead rising as a sign from God.

The action in the novel is sadly lacking. Since the zombies aren't trying to eat people, there isn't much mayhem. Every few chapters, the author adds insider information in the form of military reports, letters to the editor and doctors notes. These breaks in the story offered a wealth of background knowledge and were the most interesting parts of the story.

Handling the Undead ends just as the zombies begin to get interesting. The story continues to build until the very end but never manages to give zombie fans the carnage they are waiting for. Handling the Undead ends at least one chapter too soon and may leave some readers unsatisfied.


No comments :

Post a Comment