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A Questionable Shape Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 21, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Two Dollar Radio (May 21, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937512096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937512095
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Bennett Sims is a writer fearsomely equipped with an intellectual and linguistic range to rival a young Nabokov's, Nicholson Baker's gift for miniaturistic intaglio, and an arsenal of virtuosities entirely his own. A Questionable Shape announces a literary talent of genre-wrecking brilliance.' -- Wells Tower, author of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned 'Playful, absorbing, bittersweet, and intelligent, and, like a bite, it gets under your skin.' -- Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead 'Bennett Sims is a writer of obvious talent and literary skill' Curious Animal 'Unanswered questions, dictionary-demanding language and a rich sense of light characterise this addition to the "literary paranormal" stable. If you like... Justin Cronin's The Passage you'll like this' Metro '[A] highly unusual take on the zombie novel... ambitious and thought-provoking' Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Bennett Sims was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Tin House, and Zoetrope: All-Story. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently teaches at the University of Iowa, where he is the Provost Postgraduate Visiting Writer in fiction.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By brooks landon on July 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Remove survival as the driving force behind zombie narratives and then what needs to be thought about? Sims did just that and his thinking about the so-far unasked questions about zombies goes a very long way toward answering why our culture "needs" zombies. This is a brilliant novel--thought-provoking, erudite, beautifully written.

Brooks Landon
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Berg on August 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're into zombies but have never considered the more philosophical aspects of their return from death then this book is for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randall Neustaedter on July 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't expect zombie rampages. This thought provoking depiction of the aftermath of the zombie plague is an uncommonly mild pause in the zombie forest fire of the Walking dead and World War Z. If you ever wondered about the perception of zombies and had curiosity about their thoughts, so does this author. The writing is a little quirky with those literary footnotes and asides. I liked it, didn't love it, but I won't forget it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Taone on July 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
The last word I wanted to use while talking about this book, that focuses on the undead, is "realistic" but I can't help it. It's a testament to Bennett's writing that these characters are so relatable. Even the undead. It's as much a coming-of-age tale, told by a narrator's flashbacks, as it is a "zombie" book.
It is more about relationships than it is about surviving an epidemic.
The writing is so amazing that it can intertwine three different themes seamlessly.
Don't compare this to other "zombie" or "apocalyptic" books you read this year, compare it to EVERY book you read this year. I'd be willing to bet it cracks the top 5.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lundgren on May 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
For a more thorough deconstruction of the zombie in recent lit, I refer you to Mark McGurl's excellent essay "Zombie Renaissance" in N+1.

Among the um, biting insights there: "When 'clockwork' characters show up in popular genre fiction, as they so often do, critics are apt to take them as an aesthetic offense to the human. It might be more accurate to say that our aesthetic displeasure in hackneyed types records our confrontation with a truth *about* the human we would rather deny, but which the zombie brings to the fore."

What do we make of this pensive, footnoted addition to the genre, then? I gather Bennett Sims's novel lurched groaning between editorial desks for a few years, making it a late arrival in the undead parade -- but that's publishing's bad, not the author's. The book has been served extremely well by Two Dollar Radio, with deckle edges and French flaps--enough said, right? My only quibble with the publishers is that the footnote numbering starts afresh on each page. All true footnote-fetishists must enjoy tracking their unruly accumulation.

(Sims's heavy use of footnotes is itself justified in a footnote: "The footnote is the typographic mark most emblematic of undeath ... [it] digs a grave in the text ... The words that are banished there are like thoughts that the text has repressed ... but they go on disturbing it from beneath.")

This novel definitely favors observation and meditation over plot, which can be summarized easily: Michael, the narrator, is helping his friend Matt Mazoch look for his father, who he fears has been zombified in the recent plague.
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