I was kind of joking when I said zombies, but not joking at the same time. They’re sick people and they turn delusional and violent and they bite, but it’s easier to say zombie than “a person infected with a super rabies virus and no longer capable of making good decisions.”
when is a zombie novel not a zombie novel? when paul tremblay’s writing it!
with all the coronavirus-panic going on right now, this was a perfectly timed read for me. ain’t nothing like reading a horror novel about a highly communicable disease whilst riding on a subway car filled with people wearing surgical masks. it’s right up there with the time i was reading The Plague on a deserted subway platform around 2am and a rat ran over my foot. good times.
this is one horrifying, propulsive ride, where all the action takes place over the course of a few hours, in the book-version of ‘real time,’ telling the tale of a super rabies virus that is fast-acting, reason-obliterating, communicable AF, and fatal. oh, and bitey. soooo bitey.
if you’ve read The Cabin at the End of the World, you know that tremblay is not going to pull any of his punches – he’s an old-school concrete-surfaced playground beckoning you to come skin your knobby little knees. this one starts brutal and doesn’t let up, and it’s a reminder that effective horror needn’t have any supernatural elements at all—science is more than terrifying enough. the descriptions of afflicted humans—how their lurchy-staggery gait sounds across gravel, their word-salad babblings and barking-coughing ejaculations, and—dear god—the way they BITE, it is intense, it is chilling, it is goddamned good fun.
the horror is offset by humor, pop culture references, and he even managed to sneak some MATH in there like it’s SCHOOL. like The Cabin at the End of the World, it centers around the question of “what are you willing to do to save the ones you love?” and while some of the decisions here are ethically dubious and put innocent, uninfected lives at risk, hey—times is hard and this playground ain’t padded.
a special shout-out for “the tiny terrors” of infected cuties:
Danger skulks undercover in the fields; the tall grass bows and waves, whispering of the epic battle to come. The zombie foxes are the first to attack. The scent of their musk announces their stealthy approach. The zombie raccoons are next. Their snorts and chitters fill the air, broadcasting their immutable intentions.
and—you guys—a zombie deer! all of this woodland animal menace occurs in the section called You Will Not Feel Me Between Your Teeth, which—if i am remembering what he told me correctly—was paul’s desired title for this novel, inexplicably shot down.
but at least there’s a tiny fox on the bookspine.
a wonderful terror of a book.
THIS! ONE! HAS! TEETH!
rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. rabies. tremblay. RABIES! TREMBLAY! FOX ON THE COVER!
and just like that, i’m having a better day
even BETTER than that day was when i got my inscribed ARC of this in the mail, along with this crazy little bookmark/pin combo, and i don’t yet know what it MEANS, but it looks like The Tailypo: A Ghost Story, so i am already deliciously freaked out!!!!
REVIEW TO COME!! SO MANY TEETH, YOU GUYS!!!