Topic: Zombie Apocalypse
I came across Kim Paffenroth's DYING TO LIVE while browsing Amazon one day. I've not had much time to read lately, so it's been sitting in a stack of a bunch of other novels I don't have time to read. Packing for a business trip a week or so ago, I threw it in my bag for airplane reading. It's less than 200 pages, so I figured I could knock it out in transit.
And I did.
It's not your standard zombie apocalypse fare.
Early on in the book - and without having read anything about the writer - I realized that the author must be a humanities professor. The questions he was asking were all about the human condition. What makes a society? What are the critical rituals? These subjects were not examined as an anthropologist might in the application of science.
The issue was studied in terms of culture, experience, and visceral meaning.
I kept hearing my own college Humanities professor's voice while I read Dying to Live: "What is the intrinsic value...?"
And I was right.
Author Kim Paffenroth is a religion and humanities professor at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. He's also quite the zombie nerd maintaining his own zombie apocalyptic blog as well as authoring Gospel of the Living Dead: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth.
I had expected a care free romp through the lands of the living dead. What I got was a book that made me think. It's insidious how subversive this Paffenroth fellow is.
If you're thinking that Dying to Live is simply a cerebral exploration of human culture amongst the undead, you couldn't be more wrong. I mean you could try, but you would not be successful.
One of the blurbs on the back of the book states: "This is as bloody, violent and intense as it gets..."
Boy howdy, they ain't kidding.
Building upon one horror after another, a scene in the book literally brought tears to my eyes. I shuddered and had to close the book for a bit. Seriously.
Dying to Live is a blood-soaked nightmare of a tale provoking questions that we should be asking now before the inevitable zombie apocalypse is upon us.