World War Zed, or rather, Zee

Whilst Camus’ ‘The Plague’ focused on the effects of contagion on a relatively small community, Max Brooks’ ‘World War Z’ paints a similar story, but with a much broader brush and encompasses themes going far beyond the parochial.

I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time, having listened to the audio book twice (more on that in a minute), so I’ve borrowed my daughter’s copy. It is subtitled ‘An oral history of the Zombie War’ and is a collection of fictional (but somehow very real) accounts, from many and various sources, of the results of an infection that reanimates corpses. I won’t go into detail but, if you are interested, buy a copy and find out what happens. It’s nothing like the Brad Pitt movie, so don’t think of it as a book of the film. The film of the book is pale imitation. The accounts are transcripts of interviews with survivors of the Zombie War – which is difficult to make into a movie without breaking the convention that makes the book so believable.

The audio book, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish. The 2007 version is the one to get hold of, as it is not only narrated by Brooks himself but includes, among many other others, Nathan Fillion, Martin Scorsese, Simon Pegg, Mark Hamill, Alan Alda, Rob Reiner, Alfred Molina and F. Murray Abraham. It is utterly fascinating and will keep you gripped for all of its 13 hours running time.

With the world currently suffering from a contagion that has its own perils and problems, World War Z offers remarkably perceptive insights into the behaviour of governments, individuals and big business that have, unfortunately, a disturbing ring of truth. Without the reanimated corpses, of course.

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