Lacks the punch of World War Z
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 June 2012
Closure, Limited and other zombie tales is written by Max Brooks, the man behind World War Z, one of my favourite books EVER.
So, with this much anticipation built up, you can imagine my disappointment when this book arrived and I found it to be very slim indeed. In fact, there's less than 130 pages and only four short stories, of which, Closure, Limited only takes up TWELVE pages.
Trying to set this negative feeling aside, I started reading and easily chewed my way through the contents of this book. As stated, the book is comprised of four stories, those being: Closure, Limited: A Story of World War Z, Steve and Fred, The Extinction Parade and Great Wall: A Story from the Zombie War.
Closure, Limited and Great Wall can be considered together since these effectively read like missing chapters from World War Z, the former brings a business venture to the aftermath of the outbreak and the latter is the tale of a Chinese survivor who fought against the undead hordes. However, where both tales fit easily into the WWZ universe created by Brooks, Closure, Limited is a little more original and focuses on genuine human emotion and the very different ways that survivors deal with their own grief.
Steve and Fred definitely needed some fleshing out but fairly effectively juxtaposed the tale of two survivors: one, a gung-ho Marine, the other, an Average Joe trapped in a small cupboard in a bathroom with the undead beating at the door. In my opinion, this story is definitely the weakest of the bunch and is very generic in nature.
For me, the pick of the bunch was definitely The Extinction Parade. This short story occupies the lion's share of the book and follows a small group of vampires in South East Asia as they observe mankind's reaction to the dead rising; at first apathetically and then with shock as they realise the extent of the zombie menace and the threat it poses to their own food supply.
There is no doubt that Brooks is a skilled writer and his insight into what would occur in a zombie apocalypse is well-documented and noted by those in loftier positions than me, such as Simon Pegg who observed that, "Brooks infuses his writing with such detail and authenticity, one wonders if he knows something we don't". Brooks himself comments in his introduction to Closure, Limited that "Zombies are a global phenomenon, the perfect lens for examining societal collapse. They are SARS, they are AIDS. They are the hurrican that drowned an entire city, or the `master race' that burned an entire continent. They are an existential threat, a slate wiper, and have an ability to expose our suicidal weaknesses; I'll never lose my fear of them."
With Closure, Limited, Brooks again demonstrates his wide knowledge of geography, history and sociological and political matters; and manages to convey strong messages in an incredibly slimline book. Looking at this objectively, Closure, Limited is a welcome addition to the WWZ universe created by Brooks. I think perhaps I had simply built myself up to be settling down for a lengthier period with Brooks' latest work rather than for it all to be over so quickly.
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