Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BOOK: Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

Certainly not a book for everyone, maybe not even a book for me. Quite disturbing novel from the point of view of a sexual predator and serial killer, with graphic descriptions of his cruelty/insanity. I'm not even sure why I picked this book from the library: I've heard of Oates vaguely, and wanted a book that started with Z. Weird, I know. Oh these reading challenges and the books I have discovered recently. Interestingly, my night book, Elizabeth Costello by JM Coetzee, deals with evil and the idea that an author who choses to write about such evil will be forever changed, and not for the better. That was part of what made me finish the book; both books tackling the same type of issue. (More on Elizabeth Costello tomorrow, which I actually didn't prefer)
The style of the book was easy to read, in the narrator's choppy, stream of conscienceness rambling, including sketches and maps of his world. It was a fascinating look into the mind of a psycho, if you want to see that. It was particularly scary how easily Q_ P_ (that is how he described himself) could fool all the people around him - parents, sister, grandmother, lawyers, probation officers, everyone he came in contact with. How easily he let himself follow his crazy mind, and that he had always been like that. Flashbacks sort of filled in some early situations in his life, and how blind people were to his evil, because they couldn't believe he would be capable of such depravity. It just supports my belief that you can never really know anyone; people let you know only what they want to about themselves. And people will believe what they want to believe.
To summarize: well written, I'd read another Oates I think; very graphic and disturbing topic and descriptions, not for many people; fascinating look into the mind of evil. It shows how serial killers can get away with what they do for as long as they do. And the ending was abrupt, as nothing was resolved in any way. Just like life, I guess.