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May 21, 2015 at 09:46 PM EDT

The Making of Zombie Wars

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Aleksandar Hemon
publisher
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
genre
Novel
We gave it a B

You can always tell when writers have writer’s block. Usually they write about it. Think Wonder Boys, think Adaptation. Think Hemon’s latest, which focuses on screenwriter Joshua Levin. Joshua’s family is falling to pieces, with divorce piled atop divorce. His perfect girlfriend is too perfect. He teaches English in the evenings; one of his students is a beautiful Bosnian named Ana. Also, America is invading Iraq. Joshua starts writing a screenplay called Zombie Wars, which is somehow about all of this. It’s a mess. So’s the book around him. Hemon’s prose is cutting and he has a gift for surrealism, but Zombie falls victim to its own meandering atonality. It’s a farce played for pathos—which is another way of saying it’s not funny. B

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