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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - Max Brooks

The format of the book is quite interesting: a series of interviews centering on a zombie pandemic across the world. I was confused as to when the story was set, because there were a few allusions to our present era, but some of the technology described seemed rather advanced to me.

The constant shifts between characters also made the story feel a bit jumpy. I do understand the strength of this kind of narrative in giving as many viewpoints about the zombie war from as many parts of the world as possible. But I think I'd be more interested if the section for each character was a bit longer so I could have time to relate to them better. That said, though, I was glad to see that in the end the narrative did return to a few of the characters interviewed. I just thought it'd be better if the interviewer focused on fewer characters and alternated between their points of view.

Some of the characters stood out more than others, and one of the most memorable for me had got to be Paul Redeker.

I even Googled him to see if he was real or not, because another character in that section, Rolihlahla, clearly was. While I wasn't familiar with the name Rolihlahla, his description as the father of the South African nation obviously referred to Nelson Mandela. Redeker, on the other hand, turned out to be fictional.

(show spoiler)

While some of the politics and military stuff in the book went over my head, I was happy to see that the author did his homework in researching about Asia in the Korea and Japan sections. As I'm a bit of an Asiaphile, I thought the author did a good job in describing North/South Korea relations and the phenomenon of otaku/hikikomori in Japan, and even mentioning famous Japanese comedy duo Downtown in a footnote.

Despite some problems, overall I enjoyed reading this more than I thought I would. it's a very extensive and well-researched book with a lot of sociopolitical criticism, but a lot of heart as well. Or as the interviewer mentioned at the beginning of the book, it has "the human factor".