Outlandish and emotional, this humorous novel centers on Sheldon Funk, a struggling actor who dies in a bus restroom only to awaken during his autopsy and attack the coroner. Fleeing into the wintry streets of Toronto, Sheldon realizes he’s now a zombie—as if he didn’t have enough on his plate already. His last audition, reading for the reality television series House Bingo, had gone disastrously wrong. His mother is in the late stages of dementia, his savings are depleted, his agent couldn’t care less, and his boyfriend is little more than a set of nice abs. All Sheldon has to his name is a house he can barely hold onto and a cat that is more pillow than mammal. Now he also has to contend with decomposition, the scent of the open grave, and an unending appetite for human flesh—and on top of it all, there’s another audition in the morning. In order to survive his death without literally falling apart, Sheldon must find a way to combine his old life with his new addiction, which would be a lot easier if he could stop eating vagrants. A hysterical take on fame, love, religion, politics, and appetite, this is the story of the “everyzombie” people long to be.
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book for review!
When I started reading Husk, the newest novel by Corey Redekop, I immediately started thinking about Chuck Palahniuk. Still, I’m quite new to Palahniuk’s work, so the first novel that came to mind wasn’t Haunted (a novel I loved), but instead Pygmy, a novel which I despised. This isn’t to say that I despised Redekop’s novel – not in the least – but the fact that the whole time I was reading I kept thinking that it was a good thing I wasn’t eating anything was what brought Pygmy to mind.
For lack of a better statement, this novel is gross. If you like your zombies to eat people, you’ll be in for a treat! If you like your zombie novels to have lots of blood and gore and plenty of ‘ew’ moments, then this is the book for you. Of course, when I think of zombies, the zombie that’s in Husk isn’t really what comes to mind. I liked the character of Sheldon and his journey of self-discovery as a zombie, BUT a big part of me knew, the entire time I was reading, that this wasn’t the zombie for me. The thing about Sheldon is that he can think and he can speak. Sure, he’s just a husk of a man, er … zombie … but he still has plenty of human instincts – minus a few that he reminisces about in the very beginning.
I did really like Redekop’s writing, even if this book didn’t exactly fit my style of reading. Redekop likes his words and descriptions and there is plenty of that going on. It was both interesting and utterly gruesome to read. Mind you, I like I good gruesome novel once in a blue moon, so if gruesome is your thing, all the power to you. However, even though there are plenty of scenes that’ll make you wish you didn’t eat lunch before reading the novel (or during), there are also many parts that will make you laugh out loud. Very funny lines, even if they sometimes cross the line at some points. There was quite a few times that I shook my head wondering, “Did I just read that right?” And yes, yes I did.
Of course, while the writing was great and the gore kept coming, there was also quite a bit of pop culture references that I could’ve done without. I’m not sure if Redekop wanted to try and date the book, but references to Twilight, Fiona Apple, Facebook, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and the like didn’t seem necessary to me. What I did like was the fact that this was a Canadian zombie novel. With mentions of some of the cities like Edmonton and Toronto, as well as Canada’s Wonderland, I thought it was fun to finally have a setting that I could relate to.
While this wasn’t my favourite novel – most of the time I had a grimace on my face while reading – it was an interesting and different read. I think I enjoyed the bouts of humour more than the actual zombie part of the book. Even though I usually complain that zombies only grunt and moan and don’t do much of anything else, I think I may stick to those kinds of zombie novels. For some reason, the zombie that thinks and speaks doesn’t frighten me as much as a zombie that’ll try to eat any living creature that comes into its path.
© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.