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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Handling the Undead

Author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who wrote the vampire novel Let the Right One In will have a zombie novel available this September. While I have not read the book, the movie Let the Right One In is a dark and different take on the vampire genre. I'm not the only one who thinks so as there is a US remake releasing soon.

The upcoming zombie novel, Handling the Undead, sounds to be a unique take on our favorite subject. Even though I'm already five or six books behind, this one sounds like a thought-provoking vision and a read that should not be missed.

Book synopsis:
Across Stockholm the power grid has gone crazy. Electrical appliances turn themselves up higher and higher and cannot be disconnected. As a sense of foreboding builds, people everywhere are struck down by headaches that reach an intolerable pitch. Then it's over.

Soon after, in morgues and cemeteries throughout the city, the dead start to wake. But they are not as they were in life. With wry humour and compassion, Lindqvist illuminates what the return of the dead might really mean to those who loved them.

Mahler is alight with hope that his little grandson has been returned. David and his son Marcus are devastated by the loss of their adored Eva and aghast and bewildered at what she has become. Elvy is convinced this mass resurrection heralds the End of Days; and is desperately hoping her late husband isn't back to stay. And the government can't work out what to do with its newly restored citizens - or even whether, having died, they are still citizens at all.

Equal parts family drama, social satire, piercing tragedy and disquisition on mortality, Handling the Undead is possibly the most original and compelling book you will read this year.

Handling the Undead is a beautifully-written, sad, and occasionally quite
creepy novel about loss and the very human inability to deal with it, which
utilises the zombie trope in new and fascinating ways. The walking dead of
Sweden are not the ravenous flesh-eaters of Romero's creation (at least, not
exactly), but ordinary dead folk who rise, and walk, and attempt to return to
those they left behind (thereby having more in common with the zombies from the
2004 French movie, Les Revenants). But not everything is as it seems. It soon
becomes apparent that the ‘Reliving' are not entirely whole, and that something
other than memory or even humanity now drives them. It's difficult to say more
without giving away too much, but I will hint that much of the plot hinges not
upon how the zombies affect the living – an issue nonetheless well-addressed –
but upon how the living affect the dead.


  1. "Handling the Undead is possibly the most original and compelling book you will read this year."

    Well, it's not going to be the book with the most original cover anyway. It looks a lot like the cover of 'Rot and Ruin' by Jonathan Maberry. Seems they've been digging through the same stockphoto pile.

  2. The premise of this story sound a lot like the premise for the French film Les revenants (2004)

  3. Les Revenants was a good movie. It sounds like this book is going to have a nice twist, though.


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