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Handling the Undead Hardcover – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312605250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312605254
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Swedish horror author Lindqvist moves from vampires (Let the Right One In) to zombies in this gripping, subtle tale. Stockholm is overtaken by the undead after a period of strange weather, and the uprising has surprising consequences for several people, including David, a comedian whose dead wife comes back to life; self-harming psychic teenagers Flora and Elvy; and journalist Gustav Mahler, whose only hope of saving his daughter and himself from grief lies in exhuming his young grandson and hoping the boy will be reanimated. Lindqvist's character-driven narrative is at times slow and confusing, but pop culture references keep the story relevant and interesting. This intelligent look into the psychological side of the undead will entice longtime zombie fans eager for a subversive examination of some of the horror genre's most recognizable monsters.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A unique and humanistic take on the undead that has a place alongside thoughtful horror novels like World War Z." --Kirkus Reviews (starred)  

"The first fresh take on the zombie since [Dawn of the Dead]." --Chud.com

"Shivers the spine and hooks the heart." --Hellnotes.com  

"Lindqvist is giving us new kinds of monsters." -- PopMatters.com  

"Sophisticated horror that takes the genre to new and exciting levels." --Suspense Magazine

"A unique standout." --Fright.com

"Will entice longtime zombie fans eager for a subversive examination of some of the horror genre's most recognizable monsters." -- Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

For this reason I can't give this book a 4 star or higher rating.
Cyn
Lindqvist did something different, and that automatically made me like him more, but I have to admit I was disappointed by the ending of the book.
Amanda Makepeace
The character development is weak and none of the characters are very likable and the story is slow, weak and really not too much to it.
Donald A. Prentiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Handling the Undead" is a zombie book. But not the typical gory, horrendous BRAAAAAAINSSSS-craving type. Instead John Ajvinde Lindquist slowly weaves together an intelligent, philosophical look at what would happen if the dead were to unnaturally rise from their graves... and the only flaw is that the middle section of the book is so SLOW.

Something strange is happening in Stockholm -- the weather is oppressive, electrical glitches are everywhere, and everybody has a headache.

But when the strange conditions vanish, everybody who has died within the last two months rises from the morgue, funeral homes, and even their coffins. The "reliving" wander back to their old homes, mute and seemingly unaware, shocking their loved ones. And of course, the government quickly rounds them up and confines them, until they can be sure what dangers the "reliving" might pose.

In the days that follow, Lindqvist follows five people whose loved ones have come back -- a comedian sunk deep in denial about his wife being gone, a wannabe-rebel teen, a grandfather and a young mother trying to help her undead son "recover," and a widow who believes that she has a mission from the Virgin Mary. But something else is approaching Stockholm, bringing unexpected effects in its wake.

"Handling the Undead" doesn't really focus on the zombies themselves. Instead, Lindqvist conjures up a simple scenario, and examines how people would react to it -- we see hysteria, suicide, denial, dismissal, religious fervor, and a delusional belief that the zombies can simply go back to their old lives. And he brings up a number of philosophical questions with no easy answers.

The biggest problem with this book is that it should have been much smaller.
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Format: Hardcover
"Handling The Undead" (which was originally called "Hanteringen Av Odöda" in Sweden) is the long second novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (and translated by Ebba Segerberg) and it centers around three couples of people, and how an extraordinary situation effects them. These three couples are David and his son Magnus, Mahler and his daughter Anna, and Elvy and her granddaughter Flora, both of whom are mildly psychic.

David is a stand-up comedian whose wife is killed in a car accident on the day of the reliving, and he is traumatized twice as he has to identify his wife's damaged body in the morgue, and he is then there when she awakes. Mahler is a photo journalist who sees the arisen dead in the hospital morgue when he realizes that his grandson, who had died previously, is probably waking up while buried in the cemetery. He then rushes to the cemetery and digs him up by hand. Then there is young Goth-girl Flora who is visiting Elvy when granddad comes home.

This novel of Sweden's great reliving takes place over the short period of a week (August 13-17). And Lindqvist's reliving aren't your garden variety zombies; only those recently dead within the last two months are those who are coming back to life. Yet, unexplained in the novel all those that die on the day after the dead's reliving and afterwards stay dead. Then there is the fact people become able to pick up the thoughts of others when they are around the reliving, which is bad news and leads to some chaos.

Lindqvist's characters all take this resurrection differently; Mahler becomes obsessive of his grandson and daughter while his daughter, who is in a deep depression over her son's death, becomes overly protective of her son.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Tez Miller on April 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
The author of the wonderfully bleak vampiric LET THE RIGHT ONE IN explores zombies in HANDLING THE UNDEAD.

In the Swedish summer, it's not just coincidence that citizens' heads are aching. The power surges...and then nothing. But life has changed for some of the dead: they have risen.

The sudden death of author/illustrator Eva is a shock, but even more startling is her reliving - she can even speak. But as her case is so different, Eva is being kept away from her comedian husband David and their son. It's a bad time to have a birthday, but rabbit Balthazar makes things better for Magnus - and us readers.

Grandmother Elvy and granddaughter Flora both have the Sense, but only Elvy receives a vision of the Holy Mother telling her to spread word that the End of Days is near.

When journalist Mahler hears of the reliving, he unearths grandson Elias from his grave. Mahler tries to train him to become more human, but Elias's mother Anna is at her wits' end.

The novel is character-driven, rather than plot-driven, and it results in a somewhat incoherent read. The characters's reactions and emotions are believable, the Heath is delightfully creepy, and I certainly wanted my own Balthazar. But I don't quite understand how the reliving happened, what set off the power surge, why it affected everyone, and why telepathic abilities suddenly abounded.

It's confusing, but also a brilliant study of how humans cope in extraordinary circumstances.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Prentiss on January 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading LET THE RIGHT ONE in, I became an instant fan of Lindqvist - what a great book. Then came Handling The Undead and maybe because I expected too much but I don't think so - I think it was just becasue this book is soooooo mediocre.

The character development is weak and none of the characters are very likable and the story is slow, weak and really not too much to it. It starts to pick up toward the very end but there's no pay off to the time it took to read this book. It didn't suck and it wasn't very good - it was just a time waster!

A terribly disappointing and weak follow up to Lindqvist's first great book. I'd say pass on this.
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