The Zero is a groundbreaking novel, a darkly comic snapshot of our times that is already being compared to the works of Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller.
From its opening pages—when hero cop Brian Remy wakes up to find he's shot himself in the head—novelist Jess Walter takes us on a harrowing tour of a city and a country shuddering through the aftershocks of a devastating terrorist attack. As the smoke slowly clears, Remy finds that his memory is skipping, lurching between moments of lucidity and days when he doesn't seem to be living his own life at all. The landscape around him is at once fractured and oddly familiar: a world dominated by a Machiavellian mayor known as "The Boss," and peopled by gawking celebrities, anguished policemen peddling First Responder cereal, and pink real estate divas hyping the spoils of tragedy. Remy himself has a new girlfriend he doesn't know, a son who pretends he's dead, and an unsettling new job chasing a trail of paper scraps for a shadowy intelligence agency known as the Department of Documentation. Whether that trail will lead Remy to an elusive terror cell—or send him circling back to himself—is only one of the questions posed by this provocative yet deeply human novel.
From a novelist of astounding talent, The Zero is an extraordinary story of how our trials become our transgressions, of how we forgive ourselves and whether or not we should.
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Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers Beautiful Ruins and The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, and Citizen Vince, the winner of the Edgar Award for best novel. His short fiction has appeared in Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, as well as The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.From AudioFile:
There's a difficulty with recording a grim satire that has nothing to do with the talent of the narrator. (Christopher Graybill is quite wonderful here, warm and skillful.) Black humor lies in the disjunction between the awful things happening to the protagonist and the reader's perception of how absurd it is. On the page it's comic when Gulliver is captured by tiny Lilliputians, to us, but not to Gulliver. Apparently, on the page this novel of a Kafka-esque version of New York after 9/11 is darkly funny; but to hear it well read is to identify with Walter's protagonist, for whom this alternate universe is terrifying and confusing, physically and morally. Quite brilliant, but clearly different to hear than to read with your eyes. B.G. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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