by John Ajvide Lindqvist
U.S. Publication: Sept. 28 2010 (first published 2005)
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press
Description via Goodreads
In his new novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist does for zombies what his previous novel, Let the Right One In, did for vampires. Across Stockholm the power grid has gone crazy. In the morgue and in cemeteries, the recently deceased are waking up. One grandfather is alight with hope that his grandson will be returned, but one husband is aghast at what his adored wife has become. A horror novel that transcends its genre by showing what the return of the dead might really mean to those who loved them.
Handling the Undead is not your stereotypical zombie novel. No apocalypse blanketed the world in darkness. As a general rule the zombies didn’t crave human brains or flesh. See what I mean? So what is Handling the Undead about? Exactly that, handling the undead.
When the dead begin waking up in the morgues and cemeteries of Stockholm, Sweden everyone is naturally in shock. Lindqvist’s novel follows three families who each have their own way of “handling” the situation. There is also a lot of handling by the government. If you read carefully you’ll find that the word handling pops up again and again throughout the book.
I love refreshing takes on popular themes in genre fiction. There are a lot of zombie books out there right now, and most of them are the same story told in different ways. 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. Don’t get me wrong, the book is beautifully written and I became so attached to the character’s lives – their pain, their struggle. But then . . . Lindqvist reveals the cause of the undead awakening and I found myself saying, “What?!” out loud. So many questions were left unanswered too that I ultimately gave it three stars.
She crept up to the bedroom. Why were they whispering, why was she creeping if all of this was so ridiculous? Because the ludicrous, the impossible, is located at the outermost limits of existence. One wrong move, the least little disturbance, and it falls. Or rises, roaring. You never know which. ~ p. 66
**I received this ARC from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers Program!