by Joyce Carol Oates


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Zombie is a classic novel of dark obsession from the extraordinary Joyce Carol Oates. A brilliant, unflinching journey into the mind of a serial killer, Zombie views the world through the eyes of Quentin P., newly paroled sex offender, as he chillingly evolves from rapist to mass murderer. Joyce Carol Oates—the prolific author of so many extraordinary bestsellers, including The Gravediggers Daughter, Blonde, and The Falls—demonstrates why she ranks among America’s most respected and accomplished literary artists with this provocative, breathtaking, and disturbing masterwork.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061778919
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/15/2009
Series: P.S. Series
Pages: 181
Sales rank: 120,682
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

June 16, 1938

Place of Birth:

Lockport, New York


B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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Zombie 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates' Zombie terrified, shocked, and greatly angered me. I found myself cursing at and spitting venom at the fictional Q_P_. Not for the faint of heart!! Bravo, Mrs. Oates!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is absolutely no redeeming factors to this book. It is sick, twisted and shocking at times which is obviously the desired effect, but the writing style is difficult to get used to and there is no climax or conclusion to the story. It's essentially 176 pages of rambling lunacy. This is the biggest waste of money I've spent on a book in a very long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a system. I read reviews and really think about it before buying a book. Then I put it on my wishlist if I want it but can't buy it yet, a fairly solid system. Once in a while, however, something in the system goes wrong and I grab a book by accident that I previously decided not to get. Once in a while it turns out to be a great find. This wasn't one of those times. The punctuation, well, more a lack of, ruined it for me. I found it difficult to follow at times and tedious and dull at others. I feel that the summary is misleading and the book just sucks. If you insist though, it's about 170 pages long with sex, drugs, violence and profanity. I know what you're thinking. "How could it suck with all that in it?" I dunno how but it does. It really does.~~Seahag
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so sick and twisted that it is brilliant! This story is especially scary because the anti-hero could actually be the dude down the street. Seriously twisted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sick, gruesome and alarming. JCO is an unforgetable writer. This book is freaky.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the few books that made me physically sick, that being said a grimly fascinating novel I found impossible to put down even when I wanted too. Read it but I warned you.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I was excited to read this book, but the lack of punctuation right off the bat almost killed me, on top of that, there was no climax, it was twisted and gruesome yes, but somehow it remained horribly dry... It could not end soon enough! On top of all of that, the clipped ending made me go back a couple pages to see if I had missed something or if the book was missing pages... Extremely let down with this book ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't believe I will be recommending this to anyone. I found the plot line and characters disturbing. I can't imagine what prompted Joyce Carol Oates to write something like this. I could not have spent the amount of time need to write a book with this character and these events.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JCO created an extra-creepy serial killer in Zombie! A drugged Zombie himself, he is trying to create his own persoanl.Zombie who will love him at will. Terrific, fast read.
JimElkins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is not terrifying or "monstrous," and it is not a shocking revelation. It does not take us "into the mind of a serial killer." It is not "harrowing," and it's not "disturbing." It is a strained and earnest attempt to imagine the kind of life that would decisively overturn bourgeois values. But it doesn't do that, because the imagining of the Other is already part of middle-class American life. Even the most surprising lines pale as soon as they're read, because it becomes clear that they are imagined by a novelist, working in an upper-middle class suburb, with the help of years of research into serial killers. If Oates really wants to write outside of modern middle class America, she should write like Perec, or Roussel, or Bernhard. Those are three very different examples, but they share two crucial traits that show how awkward and forced "Zombie" is: first, they are decisively outside bourgeois values (their characters are the real psychotics, the ones who really don't care about the social fabric); and second, they don't have to work so hard, with every line and image, trying to break out of normalcy. They are already irreparably abnormal.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quentin P, the child of a professional middle class family has some secrets that he keeps in his basement, in his bathroom, in his car and from his parents, from his grandmother, from his court appointed counselor and from society.Joyce Carol Oates takes us on a ride with Quentin to a place called sociopathic madness. To Quentin, his victims are simply there as tools of experimentation -- to turn into zombies (play toys that will do just exactly what he commands.) Quentin (perhaps in real life Jeffrey Dahmer?) lacks remorse and the prize we hold so dearly called a conscience. Joyce Carol Oates journeys inside the mind of a mad man who, while feeling very much of an outsider in society, also learns the game of how to manipulate that which he does not feel a part of, in order to serve his savage cravings.
drneutron on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Americans seem to be fascinated with psychopaths. They're all over the movies and TV, and when real psychopaths make the news, it's a big story. For me, part of this fascination is in wondering just how these people who are so different from me see the world. I can't imagine what their inner life is like or what brings about such an alien world. In Zombie, Joyce Carol Oates managed to get inside the head of a psychopath and drag us along, and it astounds me that she could do this with such authenticity. Everything about the book evokes the sense of the truly foreign and inhuman.I didn't enjoy Zombie. It's hard for me to imagine how someone could enjoy it in the sense that one could enjoy a great action thriller or fantasy book - the character and the point of view are just plain disturbing. But I couldn't put it down. The writing and the storytelling was that good. Would I read it again? Maybe, but it'll be a bit. Would I recommend it to others? Depends. If someone wants to look into the mind of a psychotic killer, this is a great way to go. But only with full disclosure!
TerryWeyna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If there was ever a book that was utterly inconsistent with my image of an author, this is the one. Every photograph of Joyce Carol Oates I¿ve ever seen shows a woman who appears to be quiet, composed, peaceful, at home in her skin. One would never guess that that mind could contain the killer who rampages through Zombie. This is a most unpleasant novel about a man who is obsessed with the idea of creating a perfect lover for himself, a zombie that would worship him and be his sex slave forever. How does one create a zombie? Why, by performing a lobotomy upon a normal human, of course, even if that means becoming an amateur surgeon. Quentin, despite seeming to be somewhat mentally challenged, is smart enough not to get caught as he wreaks havoc on men in his university town, his cruelty hidden by his kindness to his grandmother and parents who seem to know what he is but choose to ignore it. It is a chilling novel that, I must confess, I found much too realistic to really enjoy reading. I love a good serial murderer novel as much as the next thriller lover, but this one was too much for me, too real, it seemed; I guess I like my horror novels to be much more like fairy tales. This is well-done, well-written, well-executed; I can fault it on no grounds whatsoever except that it¿s simply ugly.
stefferjo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A scary look into the mind of a serial killer. Although this book was disturbing to read, I devoured it. I didn't realize until after I finished it and read other reviews that it was based on the life of Dahmer. If I had known that, I might not have ever picked it up. However, it was eye-opening and will stick with me for years now.
brianinbuffalo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A chilling glimpse into the world of madness and murder.
wflooter480 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not that this is a bad book or badly written. It's just that I gained no insight, no meaning and no resolution from this book. I think what lacked most was the structure. Written as the diary of a psychotic serial killer, it was quite short with several small chapters, much like most diaries. There was little, actually zero insight into this guy's mind. I really had no interest in any of the characters, probably because it was written from his POV and he didn't care much about any of them. It seemed pointless and it lacked any satisfying conclusion.
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I borrowed this book from the library. In the back of the book was the old "card" that they used to use to track the due date on books, before everything became computerized. All the entries were date-stamps, except the last entry on the list. In very nice handwriting is the single word: filthI understand that sentiment completely.The content is jarringly filthy/depraved and this is made more obvious by how it is all related as if it were perfectly "normal".It is as close to the inside of a psychopath's head as I ever hope to get.I liked it better than the other 2 books of this type I've read recently: The Seven Days of Peter Crumb and People Still Live in Cashtown Corners. This is not to say there's much of a plot (there isn't) or that the story is resolved in any acceptable manner.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is narrated by a psychopath, and his own peculiar voice is what makes the story interesting as a piece of experimental writing. I can¿t say that I cared much about the story itself, though.
BALE on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zombie, for Quentin, is a person who succumbs wholly and wantonly to him, after he has abducted and raped them forcibly. He is a registered sex offender, gay, and a psychopath. He tries numerous times to give lobotomies to his victims, but fails. The procedure kills those who were not so lucky. He becomes angry with himself - the failure. His dad's lawyer friend is asked to come in and represent Quentin. Quentin learns how to play the game with his thereapists. They all support it and it is good exercise.Quentin's older sister, is a principal at their local middle school. She is more masquline then feminine. She is potentially a lesbian.Quentin's sexual confusion begins with trama. His father, a professor at the local college, finds magazines and male dolls in Quentin's bedroom. He conronts quentin, tells him to straighten up and move forward, successfully. "We won't tell mom about this.
MelodyFeldman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A harrowing and disturbing look at a serial killer who expresses no remorse or guilt for his crimes. Quentin is severly emotionally damaged and sexually confused. Living in a family that does not understand him, but does enable and support him, he further plunges into madness.Oates's writing can sometimes feel verbose and overlong, but I found this short novel a quick and easy read compared to other works of hers I'd read. While the subject matter is disturbing, Oates does a good job of keeping the reader's attention with her snappy prose and Quentin's narration.
TheTwoDs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easily the most disturbing book I've ever read. A first person account of a serial killer/sexual predator who shows no remorse at all. Before I read the book, I thought the title referred to the narrator and killer, you know, like a mindless killing zombie type of person. But what it actually refers to is so much more disturbing and gut-wrenching.Based on Jeffrey Dahmer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book until the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts were hard to read because the writing left such a vivid image in my head. I had nightmares for weeks afterwards and I loved it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waste of time. Not a good read at all. Don't get me wrong, I like a good sick and twisted book just like the rest, but this one is totally obscure. I will not be recommending this one to anyone.