The Zero

The Zero

by Jess Walter
3.9 14


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The Zero by Jess Walter

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061189432
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/07/2007
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 514,081
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

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.


Spokane, Washington

Date of Birth:

July 20, 1965

Place of Birth:

Spokane, Washington


B.A., Eastern Washington University, 1987

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Zero 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
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Willeo More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy reading novels by Jess Walter, and I am always impressed by his ability to tell a really excellent story while emphasizing so many important and timely themes. This novel is another great example of those abilities. The main narrative is a wildly entertaining thriller, told in dissociative flashes and brief cryptic moments, it's a page-turner where the final piece doesn't fall into place until the very last pages. What really impressed me about this book is how perceptive the author was to have written this book in 2006. Walter hits on important contemporary issues faced by Americans in a post 9/11 world. He raises questions about torture, executive authority, agency jurisdiction, post-traumatic stress disorder-- all issues that have been covered by the media since the fall of the Towers in 2001. Walter also hints at the forthcoming financial crisis as one character breaks down over the arbitrary nature of mortgage backed securities-- and this book was written in 2006, well before most Americans knew anything about the mortgage debacle that was to bring down the U.S. economy in 2008. While Walter's subsequent novel, The Financial Lives of the Poets, deals with the financial crisis in more detail, I did find it interesting that he seemed to be on top of this issue so early.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I were to rate this book solely on (a complete version of) parts 1 and 2, I probably would have given it 5 stars. I loved the surrealism, and the writing in parts 1 and 2. They were beautifully written. But the book just completely lost me at part 3.
SeattleRose More than 1 year ago
Jess Walter is an absolutely original writer. All of his books reveal a sharp wit and the ability to completely inhabit a character and The Zero is no exception. This is not another Ground Zero book. This is a look at the lives of 3-dimensional characters that happens to take place after 9-11. It is captivating and heartbreaking, capturing much of the fallout (physical and emotional) of that event and its aftermath. This could easily have devolved into sentimentality or caricatured depictions of first responders and victims, but Walter keeps it straight, with vivid descriptions of the City, the people, and the events and a concise writing style full of energy and original perspective. Highly recommended.
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