Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
Page Count: 344
This is one of those interesting examples of when there’s been a movie adaptation of a book that really doesn’t lend itself to movie adaptations. In fact, there’s arguably not even a plot to this book, and if there is one then it’s deliberately thin and disparate. Instead of following a central story, Brooks wants us to see the war against the zombies as a whole, and he does this through this sort of found narrative, epistolary approach that reminded me of Dracula, although I definitely preferred Dracula.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this, and indeed I think it would be a good source if you were writing about zombies or studying their impact on popular culture for whatever reason. It’s just that it reads almost more like a non-fiction book than a fictional one, and in fact for something that focusses on zombies, it gets surprisingly boring. The epistolary layout, consisting mostly of the transcripts of interviews, is kind of cool to begin with, but after a while it started to jade on me and ultimately, it felt like a bit of a gimmick.
Still, it wasn’t too bad, and the writing itself was pretty good, as was the world-building. In fact, I’d argue that it’s the world-building that makes this worth reading in the first place. It’s more interesting to learn about the response that people have to the crisis from around the world than it is to follow any one group of characters, and indeed the structure of the story makes it almost impossible to do that in the first place.
Ultimately, that makes it an unusual book but one that’s worth reading, even if I myself didn’t fall in love with it. It was pretty cool to see what Brooks has in mind when it comes to our human reaction to the walking dead, and I don’t regret picking it up, though I doubt I’ll ever re-read it.