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3.6 90
by Joyce Carol Oates

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Meet Quentin P.

He is a problem for his professor father and his loving mother, though of course they do not believe the charge (sexual molestation of a minor) that got him in that bit of trouble.

He is a challenge for his court-appointed psychiatrist, who nonetheless is encouraged by the increasingly affirmative quality of his dreams and his


Meet Quentin P.

He is a problem for his professor father and his loving mother, though of course they do not believe the charge (sexual molestation of a minor) that got him in that bit of trouble.

He is a challenge for his court-appointed psychiatrist, who nonetheless is encouraged by the increasingly affirmative quality of his dreams and his openness in discussing them.

He is a thoroughly sweet young man for his wealthy grandmother, who gives him more and more, and can deny him less and less.

He is the most believable and thoroughly terrifying sexual psychopath and killer ever to be brought to life in fiction, as Joyce Carol Oates achieves her boldest and most brilliant triumph yet—a dazzling work of art that extends the borders of the novel into the darkest heart of truth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Periodically, Oates seems compelled to write grim novels that explore humanity's darkest corners. Coming on the heels of last year's excellent What I Lived For, this depressing narrative carries macabre imagination to the extreme. It depicts the career of Quentin P., a convicted young sex offender on probation who has turned to serial killing without being caught, despite the worried scrutiny of his family and of his psychiatrist. Convincingly presented as Quentin's diary of his pursuit of the perfect ``zombie'' (a handsome young man to be rendered compliant and devoted through Quentin's lobotomizing him with an ice pick), the narrative incorporates crude drawings and typographic play to evoke the hermetic imagination of a psychopath; the reader examines the killer's sketches of weapons and staring eyes, and hears him say, ``I lost it & screamed at him & shook him BUT I DID NOT HURT HIM I SWEAR.'' For all its apparent authenticity, however, this novel ventures into territory that has been explored more powerfully by, among others, Dennis Cooper (Frisk), whose chilly minimalism underscores the brutality of such crimes in a way that Oates's more calculatedly histrionic approach does not. This slim, sadistic reverie may be chilling, but it comes off as less a fully realized work than as an exercise from a writer at morbid play. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Quentin P. is 31 years old, single, and the son of a well-respected college professor. He has his own apartment in the university town where he lives and attends classes at a local technical college. He is also a convicted sex offender (now out on parole) and a serial killer. In Oates's riveting new novel the reader is cunningly drawn inside Quentin's mind as he carefully plans and carries out a gruesome murder. With a deceptively simple prose style, Oates forces us to feel the calculating rationality behind Quentin's madness. What gives this novel its awesome power is Oates's ability to convice us that Quentin might be anyone: a casual acquaintance, a friend, or a brother. Compulsively readable and impossible to forget, this should both win the prolific Oates new fans and satisfy her longtime readers. Highly recommended for public libraries of all sizes. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95.]-Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Alice Joyce
Oates repeatedly exhibits the unwavering ability to depict the shadowy, at times malignant, aspects of human nature. Her latest endeavor is perhaps her most chilling novel to date, a diary with the eerie familiarity of yesterday's headlines, written by a sexually obsessed serial killer. Upon entering the psyche of Quentin P--, once arrested for the sexual assault of a young boy, Oates proceeds to reveal the demented scheming behind his abduction and torture of numerous victims--murders that remain essentially unknown to Quentin's parents, doctors, therapists, and parole counselors alike. With striking parallels to published reports of Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes, it is difficult not to conjure up that killer's image or to imagine his very thoughts and the rituals portrayed in the press as being perpetrated by him. Still, Oates compels the reader onward to the very last page of a horrifying, revelatory work of fiction.

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet 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.

Brief Biography

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. 90 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 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.
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
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A few times i have agreed with you.i am not a huge rper or any thing but i a. Speaking on the behalf of those who are.fosome people its there life. A different world.a new economy.a new them. Andd i know how it fells to want to be a different person. And those who want eviewgo to editorial or try to find a review.and maybe if you try the posts you will find it is fun.you can put up a strike for these rrviews on nook. You do npt knoe the ppower it is to have your own book where people look up to you :-{ )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. There is a certain element that compels you to continue reading, you sort of want to understand what is going through this psychopath's head when he does the things he does but there is no good to balance the evil, no justice, no climax, no ending. You're just in disbelief trying to understand this guy and then the book just ends. This could have been a good thriller, had there been the cop on his tail, the shrink on to him, the suspicious sister, etc. but instead you only get his diary. Very twisted, indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt get more than 20 pages in. I hate the style its written in from someone who loves books that are "scary" or "sick" after reading other reviews about how "messed up" this book was supposed to be I was expecting more but the way it is written made it unbearable to read. I wish i could get my money back....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MizcherylCM More than 1 year ago
Not about zombies. Not sure why this book is rating so well, it's awful. Story about a young man with mental issues (big mental issues) who is secretly gay and driving an ice pick into men's brains to try to create a zombie/love interest. That's the story here, and it's gross and uninterestiing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible , barely readable , waste of time ! Put one star because I can't post without it.
Silver-Angel More than 1 year ago
This story was chilling enough that I found it difficult to continue reading at some points, but good enough that I continued reading to find out what happened. I was left unsatisfied with the ending of the book, but that was just my opinion and others might find the books conclusion fine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Book makes me sick literally. So Sorry I read it. Doesn't even deserve a rating at all. *
Mr_Shaddow More than 1 year ago
You have a first hand perspective of a serial killer. Well written, had me hoping for a blaze of glory ending. You'll feel sorry for his victims, all of them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates really makes you feel the insanity.