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Husk Husk
by Corey Redekop
ECW Press, October 2012
Paperback, 310 pages

An outlandishly funny, unambiguously bloody novel about fame, love, religion, politics, and appetite… Husk, the story of the everyzombie.

This was one of the most original stories I have read. Corey Redekop brings the zombie genre into new territory, granting his lead baffling self-awareness as he literally tries to piece his life together after waking mid-autopsy in Toronto General Hospital.

For such fantastic circumstances, it was impressively realistic. It even had me questioning certain cornerstones of the modern zombie myth, such as moaning: without the need for oxygen, thus no need for breathing, why are zombies always moaning and groaning as they relentlessly pursue human flesh?  Sheldon rehearses his speech with care, with grim results:

I curved my tongue against the roof of my mouth to get a hiss of air going, and contracted my lungs, forming my lips and tongue around my name: SSsssshhhheeellleeee. It was a gruesome utterance, a word of putrefaction, splatting heavily on the floor like clotted cream gone rancid.

The book tackles some pretty heavy topics while maintaining a wonderful humorous tone. Sheldon is conflicted when killing his dinner, but is powerless to overcome it. Themes such as human rights and even eating disorders are touched on with humour as Sheldon comes to terms with his new needs for sustenance (“Who knew death could lead to an eating disorder?”).

There occasionally seemed to be undue importance given to American government organizations. Sure, Sheldon is an actor that occasionally works in the states, but as a Canadian wouldn’t he be more worried about CSIS than the FBI/CIA who don’t have any jurisdiction in Canada? And if he’s so worried about them and not the Canadian government, then why go down there in the first place? I grant that this is probably to increase the appeal of the book south of the border and so I can’t fault the author too heavily.

All in all it was a fantastic book that treats the zombie myth in a new way. I can’t help but wonder if this might spawn a new era of YA/Crossover books à-la-Twilight: The mysterious shambling zombie-teen enters the cafeteria, where the only appetizing thing he sees is Mary-Sue. “A guy who finally wants me for my brains, and not my generic lacklustre appearance!”

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