A novel by Colson Whitehead set during the Zombie Apocalypse. Humanity is trying to wipe out the remaining zombies while restarting civilization, with the impromptu government based in Buffalo. The main character, Mark Spitz, is a "sweeper" in a reclaimed section of lower Manhattan, called Zone One. His job is to clear stragglers out of buildings within the safe zone so that new tenants can eventually move in.
This book provides examples of:
- A House Divided: happens to assorted groups of refugees.
- Downer Ending: The zone gets overrun by skels.
- Named After Somebody Famous: This Mark Spitz is not related to the famous Olympic swimmer.
- Not Using the "Z" Word: The undead are called "skels" because the years of plague have reduced them to little more than skeletons
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Mark Spitz (nicknamed for the Olympian after claiming he can't swim), the Quiet Storm, and No Mas
- Our Zombies Are Different: In addition to the usual flesh-eating, plague-bearing kind, there are also "stragglers", which seem to be frozen mid-action and do not move, notice people, or bite (at first)
- Purple Prose: As a "literary" zombie novel, Zone One strays into this territory frequently.
- Mark Spitz, as The Narrator, often goes into a flashback...and stays there for a long, rambling monologue.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Although there is occasional mention of soldiers shooting fresher skels in the torso, Mark Spitz makes a point of sticking to head shots.
- Room Full of Zombies: The sweepers, like Mark Spitz, are charged with clearing buildings of these. A couple are turned up, with varying consequences.
- Zombie Infectee: Mentioned more than seen; some of the bitten think that anticiprant, if administered quickly enough and in a high dose, will prevent their undeath.