Review of Derek Goodman’s “The Reanimation of Edward Shuett”
The Reanimation of Edward Shuett is a zombie tale for folks who are looking something that injects something entirely new and different into the genre. Edward is an average guy from Wisconsin who wakes up one day in an abandoned WalMart dazed, dirty, and confused by the fact that he has maggots crawling out of rotten holes in his arm. He sees a couple of other people in the store who scare him. They are clearly not normal-shambling looking dead things that have no reason to still be upright. Despite his fears of them, they don’t seem very interested in him, and when a truck pulls up outside and a couple of men step out looking for some undead to capture, Edward begins to realize what he is…or at least what he used to be.
There have been, by my reckoning, a handful of novels that are told from the viewpoint of the zombie. We’re even going to be seeing a movie with this slant in early 2013 with “Warm Bodies”. Some just dance lightly around the subject of trying to grasp what is going on inside the brain of a zombie, while others plunge in head first, making their whole focus about the life and times of the undead. I would have to say that TRoES is the first story I’ve read that caused me to not only identify with a particular zombie but caused me to feel sympathy and empathy for their plight. But of course, Edward Shuett isn’t your average, garden variety zombie.
Edward is definitely a zombie-of that there is no doubt. While the realization comes as a shock to him, there is another more striking realization for both him and the living, breathing humans that surround him. Unlike the rest of the undead, he can reason, speak, and is even starting regenerate the fifty years of damage he suffered as a mindless eating machine. His memories as a full blown flesh eater are vague-stuck within his dreams and nightmares. Sadly, he has no idea what has happened to his wife and daughter, and to him it seems like time stood still since he was originally bitten and transformed. But now he is stuck in a world of survivors who have lived with the threat of the undead for half a century.
Like the author even says within the tale, this is sort of a zombie Rip Van Winkle, with a man searching for his past while trying to adjust to the new world around him. While zombies are still a threat, the human race has conquered them for the most part-at least those who live within the city limits and not out in the wastelands. In another way, this book and likely any follow-ups the author creates, remind me of the classic Planet of the Apes movies, as strange as that may sound. A creature different than all the rest of its kind is to be feared for the danger it may or may not represent and there will always be those who want to destroy it for that reason alone.
The Reanimation of Edward Shuett certainly serves up a unique zombie tale, but one that retains what makes stories in this genre worth reading: solid characters put into tremendously difficult situations that feature monsters both human and inhuman. As is the case with the best of the genre, it is pretty clear that the human monsters are by far the worst. This story is heartfelt and touching, but retains that blood-drenched razor sharp edge that should keep most zombie fans satisfied.
The Reanimation of Edward Shuett can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1618680617/ref=cm_cr_thx_view