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Daryl Gregory???s Raising Stony Mayhall (2011) read by David Marantz is an absorbing audiobook: moving, humorous, and, amidst the legion of undead books and movies out there, original.
In Part One, in 1968 on a snowy night in Easterly, Iowa, a zombie baby is found by the Mayhall family, mother Wanda and her three daughters. They must raise him in secrecy, because the boy, nicknamed Stony, is a ???Living Dead??? or ???LD,??? and earlier in 1968 (the year of George Romero???s ???documentary??? Night of the Living Dead) an outbreak of a mysterious disease that turned people undead hit the eastern USA. Though the contagion was seemingly stopped by the rapid and rabid reactions of civilians and authorities, if Stony were discovered he would be exterminated. The rest of the novel depicts his attempts to understand himself and the undead and living human condition.
Gregory dryly revels in the ramifications of the zombie premise: an undead physiology by which LDs do not eat, sleep, breathe, bleed, heal, decay, or stink; an undead philosophy focused around the conundrums of life and death and of how the undead may make prosthetic wooden limbs move; a resistance LDA (Living Dead Army) working through cells and safe houses; an undead representative government comprised of factions like one that wants to spread the disease all over the world and one that wants to avoid violence no matter what; and so on. He also works out the personal ramifications for Stony. Is he human? Can he love? Does he have a soul? If so, where is it? In heaven, hell, or purgatory (because he is dead), or in his body (because he is alive)? For that matter, where is his conscious self? Confined to his bones and flesh, or limited only by his will and imagination?
In addition to the possibilities of the zombie genre, Gregory is interested in the relationship between science and the supernatural. He also writes interesting and human characters (especially the undead ones). And he also wittily works in references to the popular culture of each of the eras through which his narrative moves, from 1968 until 2011.
Reader David Marantz enhances the situations, conversations, emotions, and ideas of the novel with restraint, reading the different voices for the male and female, old and young, educated and ignorant, living and undead characters without exaggeration and with a twinkle in the eye of his voice.
When you finish this entertaining audiobook, if you listen to the prologue again, more things will become clear and many touches will move you.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
A coming of age Zombie story, what could be more original? The first part of this three part book, is very very good. This story is also told from the perspective of a Zombie. The people are the bad guys for the most part.
Did you know that George Romero's movies were actually documentaries? Our school history books only dedicated about three pages to this 1968 Zombie uprising. This is not uncommon for U.S. History books. Usually the War of 1812, the Spanish American War and Korean and Vietnam war are only given a paragraph or two. That is because we are not proud of these events in our history.
If Daryl Gregory could have kept with the coming of age story this could have earned five stars. The society of Zombies had some interesting and creative parts to it, but as a whole it was not as interesting as the first part of the book.
The book as a whole earns four stars, as the Zombie expert I am following also gave it. The action/adventure person I am following gave it three stars and agrees that the first half is good, while the second half is boring.
I wonder if Kevin J. Anderson got his idea for character Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. from Gregory's character Zombie detective Jack Gore, they both even share a bullet hole in the forehead.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
A lovely story where the zombie is the main character. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this but Stony was such a marvellous character I was totally hooked and rooting for him. The end is truly astounding.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful