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Zombie

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  4,504 ratings  ·  681 reviews
Meet Quentin P., the most believably terrifying sexual psychopath and killer ever brought to life in fiction. The author deftly puts you inside the mind of a serial killer--succeeding not in writing about madness, but in writing with the logic of madness.
Published (first published January 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Iyanna
I HATED this book! It was excellently written and it did what it was supposed to do...it scared the crap out of me. This is a character study of a social deviant. I don't want to spoil this for anyone who reads it, so I won't give away the ending, but definitely not something you read while lying on the beach catching your tan. No escapism here. You come face to face with the evil and cunning of the sociopathic and psychotic mind. Be prepared to bathe in Dettol and then curl up in bed under the ...more
Paul
May 27, 2013 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeffrey Dahmer fans
Shelves: verysleazyfun, novels
This fairly wretched novel is JCO shooting dead boys in a barrel. I dunno, it seems like taking the easy option to me - you takes your Jeffrey Dahmer (you remember him, he was a lonely boy who wanted a gay sex pet to do his every bidding, and he read a book on brain surgery and he thought that if you drilled the right hole in a man's head it would stop him from realising you were a dangerous psycho and leaving, so he practised on a few guys who unfortunately like died which was not Jeffrey's int ...more
Heidi Ward
I generally like Oates's dark fiction (her short stories are particularly good), but I chose not to finish this one. I'd meant to read "Zombie" for a long time, and was disappointed to find it utterly repulsive when I finally got around to it . . . but not in the way you might imagine.

I thought I knew what I was getting into when I picked up a book told from the POV of a sexually depraved serial killer dabbling in icepick lobotomies. (Browse my library and you'll see it takes a lot more than tha
...more
Jim Elkins
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 ar
...more
Raymond
Damn, Joyce, I didn't know you rolled like that.
Petergiaquinta
This book came to mind today as I was browsing a discussion thread titled, "Do you have to like the narrator to enjoy the book?" Quentin, the decidedly unlikeable narrator of Oates' 1995 novel Zombie, kidnaps young men, holds them captive in his house, and then applies an icepick to their brains in his quest to create the perfect zombie love slave. He isn't particularly adept with the pick. Young men die horribly, and there is a great deal of ugly, violent rape and worse. Quentin also seems to l ...more
Patrick

Joyce Carol Oates snared my attention in her old short story, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? In her novel, Zombie, (1995), she writes in a first person narrative of a psychopath who has a crush on various youthful men, and uses devilish means to capture them and use them as sex slaves. In turns, quizzically funny and nasty, the writings are merely scribbles and with various doodles in the borders that take on sinister meanings as you read the story. As a reader I am a little put off
...more
Patrick Kelly
Not the JCO I remember.
Meet Quentin: a violent serial-rapist/killer and pedophile. Oates places the reader inside the mind of a social deviant, but succeeds only insofar as she shocks. These moments are daring enough to outweigh sudden, dramatic shifts in tone and style, which the narrative occasionally suffers from—switching from pedantic, broken English to deep, allegorical, highly poetic aphorism. The latter would feel more compelling (and authentic) if it didn't arrive at such odds with the
...more
Jonathan Janz
It would be wrong to say I enjoyed this one--I didn't. But then again, I wasn't supposed to.

Joyce Carol Oates has created a novel so eerie and unnerving that the words "enjoyment," "escapism," and "entertaining" are totally inapplicable.

But it is a masterfully written tale with the kind of skillfulness you'd expect from Oates, who is a phenomenal writer. I'm not going to write much more about this because I've got other books waiting for me tonight, but what I will say is that you should only
...more
Leah
Rating: 3.5 of 5

Sad, disgusting, horrific: exactly what one would imagine the mind of a serial killer to be. I didn't realize beforehand that Zombie was inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer, but I figured it out after Quentin P. shared his fantasy about the creation of a living zombie. The narrative was entirely stream of consciousness from Quentin's perspective, which was super creepy, and it definitely felt like I was reading a real journal. Oates fully immersed herself in the mindset of a killer, so mu
...more
Jacobi
This book made me angry. I understand that Joyce Carol Oates writes books that make you feel like you need a shower, and I was cool with that. I expected it even. What I didn't expect was for this to be written like drivel.

An excerpt.

"Twelve years old & in seventh grade & now I was wearing glasses & long-armed & skinny & hair sprouting under my arms & at my groin & their eyes sliding onto me & even the teachers & in gym class I refused to go through the showe
...more
C.J. Listro (Sarcasm & Lemons)
Read more (http://cjlistro.blogspot.com/2012/05/...)

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a bit of an obsession with serial killers. So after a conversation about Jeffrey Dahmer the other day (yes, the glamorous life of a psych grad student), I recalled a former lit professor having mentioned this evilly wonderful novel by Joyce Carol Oates, one of the underappreciated literary greats. The novel’s protagonist happens to be based heavily on Dahmer, who had similar zombie-making inclinations
...more
Brenna
Going beyond the psyche of "the monster," Joyce Carol Oates invites herself into the mind of a murderer, thus making him downright human again. A wholly disturbed and unpleasant human, but unmistakably vulnerably sentient nonetheless.

Quentin P. is like any one of us in that sense, at least.

Zombie is a diary of sorts. The owner/writer of this diary is Quentin P. (who frequently refers to himself by initials alone, and to others solely by initials or - in special cases - cutesy nicknames). Those n
...more
Hudson
Eh. Decent read told from the perspective of a serial killer. Author uses caps a lot to underscore certain points or words, gets annoying after awhile.
Mahrya
This is an example of the Joyce Carol Oates I'm not too crazy about. Compared to Them or The Childwold, Zombie seems to lack a sense of time and place, and even character. You feel nothing for any of them, which Easton Ellis pulls off well, but not Oates. This book is loosely based on Jeffrey Dahmer's homemade zombie quest, and there's plenty of gruesomeness involving neighborhood boys, icepicks and duct tape. She gets well inside the mind of a serial killer, but to sensational effect. I was mai ...more
Delilah
This was a real page-turner for me, a single afternoon read. It's written in a diary style from the point of view of a very believable childlike predator. I read a lot of true-crime and consider myself well-versed in criminal psychology, and I thought that the restraint practiced by the author in terms of only recording things from the sophomoric emotional state of a stunted and sad murderer was remarkable. Well-executed work that I will enjoy using as a basis for the author's other creations.

Fa
...more
Pete
It made me more uncomfortable than anything I've read recently. The first person narration is unnervingly believable; it was not what I might have imagined a serial killer's voice to be, but it is now. A lot of Goodreads reviewers seem to think that great books cannot be this upsetting. While I disagree with that premise and do consider this a very good piece of writing, I can't give it stars. It just isn't shiny.*

*I have since given it stars. Distance helped me heal.
Carac Allison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Valerie
What was the point of reading this book?! Not being faint hearted I did keep reading to find out what would happen next. Sick, sad and disapointing. I find that most books by Joyce Carol Oates just leave me feeling like I want to wash my hands but this one made me want to scrub my eyes too.
Brian
* On the cover of my trade paperback, Booklist calls this a "horrifying, revelatory work." Perhaps the explanation for this remark can be found in what Library Journal has to say about it, that "what gives this novel its awesome power is Oates's ability to convince us that Quentin might be anyone." Only problem is, this is a "revelation" only to those who know nothing about serial killers, who, after all, aren't able to ply their twisted craft by running around looking like psychotic monsters.

*
...more
Dean
Tough read.
For such a short book this took a bit to read as I could only read it in parcels.
It is not because it is not a "good" book, it is. The book is simply a rough ride.
Stark, bleak, devoid of life.
You will feel empty after reading this...as empty as Q_P.
Herein lies the genius of the novel.
Quentin (Q_P) is a serial killer. I am not giving anything away by telling you this. It is presented from the start.
You are invited into the mind of this monster. What you will find there is...much of n
...more
Lennie
For the most part, Quentin P. comes across as just a regular guy, your average Joe. He attends Dale County Tech College part-time and lives in Mt. Vernon where he is a caretaker for a rooming house that houses college students who attend the big state university campus where his father is a well-known and respected professor. He is currently on probation for two years because he pleaded guilty to molesting a 12-year-old boy in an alley and received a sexual misdemeanor committed against a minor. ...more
Paul Gleason
Oates, who's one of the best novelists of her generation, occasionally attempts to write genre fiction. I read Zombie as both a "horror" story and as an attempt to - and a rather cynical one at that, coming from such an esteemed writer - capitalize on the, at the times (the book was published in 1995), current interest in serial killers.

Indeed, if you choose to pick up Oates's text, you'll be reminded of American Psycho and A Silence of the Lambs.

You'll also remember the Jeffrey Dahmer murders.

B
...more
Sunday
Two stars? For ol' Oatey? Yes. There are far too many glorious examples of serial killer literature that gives your very bones that "woah earthquake" feeling. This was not one of them. It's so brief, firstly, and it's focus is more on the plotting of the killer than his characterization. The most interesting and delicious bits are completely absent. Oates went for simplicity and sparce-ness: then she lost control and sold the farm on Craigslist. Metaphorically.

In order to empathize with this so
...more
Jason
3 Stars

Zombie is the only book that I have read by Joyce Carol Oates. I enjoyed the unique style and point of view of this short read. Some people are easily turned off by the sick sociopathic view point of Quentin are main character. I however, found him to be a bit too juvenile and over the top to be put out by his demented killings.

The way that Oates tells this story, styles it, and paces it are perfect for this subject. I applaud the way that she incorporated punctuation and drawings into t
...more
Cassie
This book is disturbing. It is the third book by Joyce Carol Oates I have read and it did not let me down. Q__ P__ (as he refers to himself) lives his life with one desire, to create a human zombie. He plots and plans, describes meaningless daily activities, and considers the past. This is written in a very stream-of-consciousness style. He works towards his goal in earnest and the results are grotesque.

It is hard to say that I enjoyed reading this book, but I'm not sure something like this is
...more
Ryk Stanton
I have never read anything by Joyce Carol Oates before, but I have heard her name and know that she is an author of note. Really, I knew nothing else about her (and still don't, actually), but it was in my head that she was one of those "literary" authors that might be assigned in an AP or college class – not the kind of stuff a person would read for casual fun.

So I was a bit surprised when I was offered a Kindle Free-Book-of-the-Day for a novel by her called _Zombie_. "Zombie?" I questioned, an
...more
Alyce
It was good, and only for those who are interested in abnormal psychology, I guess. I think the major deal here is, reading something in which you know an author is able to get into a really sick, messed up mind, and being impressed with the fact that she could even "go there," and she does go pretty far and does a decent job of it. It's definitely a rough road and not for people who aren't somehow interested in books about the nature of sickness/evil. I've been overall interested in her work du ...more
Michelle Lynne Widmann
I put this under horror because that's how I heard about it - it was on the reading list of my boyfriend's Gothic Lit course in university. And that's why I picked it up, to be honest. But I actually got a lot more out of this book than I originally anticipated. I really liked the writing style, although the ampersands began to drive me crazy (she uses them instead of the word 'and' throughout the entire piece and it slowed down my reading).

As a whole, the writing and the interesting themes it c
...more
Dana *
Very disturbing look inside the mind of a serial killer. What is more disturbing, the narrators lack of human empathy, mental confusion, disassociation, or clear attraction to deviant behavior?

This is a quick read, I could not put it down, and I was fairly sick most of the time, but still fascinated. Sometimes the car wreck you cannot take your eyes off of is a person, and wondering what the heck is going on in that mind?
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Zombie Audiobooks 1 2 Apr 23, 2014 07:04PM  
Anyone else find this book very disturbing? 5 25 Sep 19, 2013 06:18PM  
This edition is 181 pages, dear. Not 192. 1 24 Apr 05, 2012 04:32AM  
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure ...more
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“I could EAT YOUR HEART & asshole you'd never know it. ” 42 likes
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