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Breathers: A Zombie's Lament [Kindle Edition]

S.G. Browne
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.78
You Save: $5.22 (35%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

For fans of Max Brooks’s The Zombie Survival Guide and zombie aficionados everywhere, a hilarious debut novel about life (and love) after death.

Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. But all that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year-old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography. When the group meets a rogue zombie who teaches them the joys of human flesh, things start to get messy, and Andy embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will take him from his casket to the SPCA to a media-driven class-action lawsuit on behalf of the rights of zombies everywhere.

Darkly funny, surprisingly touching, and gory enough to satisfy even the most discerning reader, Breathers is a romantic zombie comedy (rom-zom-com, for short) that will leave you laughing, squirming, and clamoring for more.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Browne's black comedy debut brilliantly reinvents zombie culture for the 21st century. Andy Warner reanimates after the car accident that kills his wife, but is too mangled from his injuries to talk. He lives in his parents' wine cellar, occasionally attending a zombie support group and struggling to rejoin a society that offers the undead no rights, bans them from working and doesn't even punish those who destroy them. When Andy and his fellow zombies—notably Rita, a sexy suicide victim with a lipstick fetish, and Jerry, a Playboy-obsessed stoner—learn why they're so driven to consume human flesh, the repercussions are both tragic and hilarious. Browne neatly mixes humor and extreme violence with a surprisingly tender love story, some witty social satire and an extremely strong narrative voice. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Andy’s life is a mess. A newly risen zombie, he’s forced to live in his parents’ basement, attend Undead Anonymous meetings just to get out of the house, and endure abuse of all kinds from the living. To make matters worse, he can’t even talk, though that’s because his mouth was sewn shut prior to being embalmed. Things begin to look up when Andy meets Rita, a gorgeous zombie who slashed her own wrists and throat; nebbish, vegetarian Tom, whose arm was stolen by a pack of drunken frat boys; and Ray, an undead renegade who introduces the gang to the wonders of eating “breathers.” Some die-hard horror aficionados may find this take on zombies too full of shtick (e.g., the running joke that falls flat by its second appearance), but Browne confidently balances a love story with ample amounts of gore and gags that should win over fans of George Romero (Night of the Living Dead et seq.) and fans of Shaun of the Dead, too. A welcome deviation in zombie lit. --Carlos Orellana

Product Details

  • File Size: 1590 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Original edition (February 24, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001TSZ6KG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zom-Rom-Com Anyone? March 23, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
BREATHERS was an impulse Amazon buy, recommended when I purchased a separate zombie anthology. I don't usually give in to impulse buys (I have too many must-haves on my reading list as it is), but I'm so glad I decided to give into this one!

This book has it all - the blood and gore of typical zombie fare, but also romance (who wouldn't love a twenty-something hottie, even with the stitches at her wrists and throat, who happens to eat lipstick like it was going out of style), humor (I'm sorry, but breather disguised as venison is pure genius), murder (the opening scene is a husband-wife body part freezer bonanza), and an undead support group (yes, they even have field trips).

It's a quick read, and it is just so, so good. Andy, the main character, simply wants his life back, even if he is a member of the undead. As a member of society who now has absolutley no rights whatsoever, it's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

But if you've never had to drink VO5 shampoo (and sometimes conditioner) to get your formaldahyde fix, or had your arm ripped out of its socket only to be beaten over the head with it, or been shot in the face by a Social Security Administration guard, or been traumatized by frat boys in a cemetery, then you probably wouldn't understand what I'm talking about.

Seriously, just go buy it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "There's a lot of prejudice against the undead." March 14, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Andy Warner is a 30-something who lives in his parents' basement, drinking their wine and not contributing to society. This isn't so unusual except for the fact that Andy is a decomposing, smelly, zombie who reanimated following a fatal car wreck that killed him and his wife. He spends most of his time watching his skin slough off, listening to his father complain about the smell and hassle of housing a zombie son, shuffling his way back and forth between sessions with an overly Botoxed therapist and his Undead Anonymous (UA) support group, and chugging as much formaldehyde-laden products as he can to slow down his decomp. He develops a heavy crush on Rita, a fellow UA attendee, but how do you charm an undead suicide when your voicebox is crushed? On top of all that, Andy and his undead friends can't even take a walk without Breathers throwing insults and food items at them or drunken fraternity pledges ripping off their body parts. In Andy's world, the undead have no rights and can be abused by any of the living at any time.

It's hard out here for a zombie.

Then Andy and his pals meet Ray, a self-sufficient zombie who hunts for his own food and lives as far away as possible from the Breathers. They all bond over booze and good food, and Andy begins to see a possibility of a better unlife, one with civil rights, a job, a social security number, and possibly Rita. He stages some protests, gets pelted with a variety of fast foods, and has to be bailed out of the SPCA by his sputtering father on more than one occasion.

But he's making progress in his quest to secure equal rights for the undead and love for himself.

Browne delivers a funny little zombie novel with a more light-hearted approach than the standard undead fare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, quick read May 12, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Breathers starts with a fairly amusing premise that capitalizes on the current zombie craze, and delivers pretty much what it seems like it will... a bit of entertaining popcorn. There is poignancy in the main character's story of losing his wife and finding himself resurrected, and a bit of tragedy and heroism at the end, but for the most part the book is an easy, unchallenging read filled with zombie quips and a recurring "If you're not a zombie, you probably wouldn't understand" joke, which honestly got kind of irritating after the 15th interation or so.

Still, it's an amusing, light read, and a pleasant diversion. It would be good airplane reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like it... June 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book started out promising, but began to wear on my nerves. From his pretentious wine plugs, desperate attempts to be "in the know" with his pop culture/TV references, and the use of the phrase "Unless you (fill in the blank) then you probably wouldn't understand." And I hope you can read code because the typos run rampant.
I really wanted to like this book, but in the end it just fell flat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathing New Life Into A Well-Worn Genre! April 9, 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In truth, I probably didn't expect "Breathers: A Zombie's Lament" to be much more than an amusing diversion. However, author S.G. Browne has scored with a triumphantly funny novel that is a potent satire on intolerance and prejudice. When a small portion of the recently deceased start to reanimate, through no fault of their own, society must learn how to fit its newest citizens back into the fold. That's no easy task! As the zombies struggle to understand the complexities of their reawakening, the "living" population must confront its own fears and humanity.

Told through the eyes of Andy Warner, an every-man zombie suddenly reviled just for existing, "Breathers" examines his need to be accepted. This comic novel admirably follows Andy's pursuit for meaning in this new "life." Ironically, "learning to live again" is a central theme in this tale of the undead. Accepting his new status, creating friends, falling in love, speaking out against inhumane treatment--Andy goes through a tremendous character arc becoming liberated and free as he embraces and learns to accept the things he can not change. Satirizing family, prejudice, self-help and a dozen other targets--"Breathers" succeeds by tweaking the conventional expectations of a "zombie story" but not abandoning them altogether. Heck, there are even half a dozen great recipes included--I'll leave the main ingredients to your imagination.

I heartily recommend "Breathers." I laughed out loud more than once. But, by no means, is this just a "jokey" premise. Andy and his friends are real characters, and I became invested in their success even as it led down a dark road. At times slapstick, at times violent, and at times even touching--"Breathers" is a worthy and unique addition to zombie lore!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware: This Is Not a Comedy
I too wanted to like this book. The blurb on the back cover describes it as "a hilarious debut novel," and "a zombie comedy," and a "rom-zom-com. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved this book.
Published 2 months ago by Joseph Jerista
4.0 out of 5 stars Zombies Are People Too!
“The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but “Can they suffer?”
― Jeremy Bentham, The Principles of Morals and Legislation

“Is it necrophilia... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kelly Garbato
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Look For Zombies
This is not just your ordinary zombie novel. Andy is a recently reanimated person who would like to have some of his basic right back. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Charles Reads
4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, But Fun
Andy's life sucks. His dad hates him, his mom is repulsed by him, and his daughter thinks he's dead - not to mention he's forced to live in a wine cellar. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paige Reiring
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Humor, and Allegories. A perfect combination!
This book gives the feel of a dystopian future, where not much has changed from how we know the world, but the reader so strictly identifies with the main character, a zombie, that... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Emily
3.0 out of 5 stars different type of zombie novel
This was a different book. I liked the perspective from a zombie's point of view. Kept me interested. Just wished the ending would've played out fully. Read more
Published 14 months ago by DrjellybabyWho
5.0 out of 5 stars :D
My friend loved it. I got it for her as a Christmas gift and it even had that "New Book" smell. xD
Published 14 months ago by Priscilla Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I love the way this is written; clever, kind of snarky. I didn't love the ending, more out of disappointment that it didn't end the way I wanted it to than out of any objections... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Ashley
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh. Not for me.
I couldn't make it too far into this book at all. It's lighthearted, funny and a totally different take on the genre. Not one that I was ready for. Read more
Published 16 months ago by TechLife
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More About the Author

S.G. Browne is the author of the novels LESS THAN HERO, BIG EGOS, LUCKY BASTARD, FATED, and BREATHERS, as well as the novella I SAW ZOMBIES EATING SANTA CLAUS. His short story collection SHOOTING MONKEYS IN A BARREL contains ten twisted tales and is available as an eBook.

His writing has been influenced by Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, Kurt Vonnegut, and the films of Charlie Kaufman and Wes Anderson, among others. He loves dark comedies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and is a sucker for It's a Wonderful Life.

You can learn more about S.G. Browne and his writing at

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Topic From this Discussion
Does Not Compare to Brooks
I would list Breathers as sentient zombie fiction. I've been looking for this subgenre in film (In the Flesh) and literature, and have noticed its growing popularity. Seriously, I'm thinking about compiling a list of all sentient zombie fiction and then contrasting and comparing them, with... Read More
May 7, 2013 by T. Austin |  See all 9 posts
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