From Publishers Weekly
Becker's slender debut novella is an unusual take on the zombie genre: part Grapes of Wrath
, part postmodern memoir. A virus outbreak turns millions of people into mindless zombies, and the remaining humans declare war on the undead. Zombified English professor Jack Barnes discovers that he has retained his memories and his consciousness. Joined by several other sentient zombies, Barnes sets off to find the virus's creator in hopes of presenting a treatise on zombie civil rights. Barnes's dogged entitlement and self-centeredness make him both uninteresting and unbearable, and while Becker's writing is crisp, the plot meanders like its characters, consisting of little more than cannibalistic feasts and tin-eared literary and pop culture references (Hell is other zombies; Perhaps life as a zombie is better than no life at all). (June)
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Since being cornered and bitten in his home by a swarm of zombies, former college professor Jack Barnes has found a new love: brains. Not just any brains, but “bubbly, bewitching, bedazzling brains.” While he may be a zombie (he ate his wife shortly after being turned), a classic, arms-outstretched, shambling zombie he is not. He has something special that the rest of the infected don't: self-awareness. That and his ability to write convince him to go to Chicago to find the scientist who created the virus responsible for zombification and, he hopes, end the war between the living and the dead. En route he meets a few “like-minded” undead compatriots, all with varying degrees of sentience, to help him on his quest: Joan, once a nurse, who is particularly skilled at patching up body parts; Guts, a young man who can still run with the best of them; pregnant Eve, whom Jack falls for after biting off her finger; and Ros, a spokesman of sorts, since he's still able to talk. Becker's humorous first-person narrative will have readers rooting for the zombie crew, and she keeps the action moving at breakneck pace. Smart, funny, weirdly uplifting, Brains is a most welcome addition to zombie lit. --Carlos Orellana