Posted on February 19, 2008 by Flames
Review by Leah Clarke
The subtitle of this 2007 Permuted Press offering is ‘A novel about zombies.’ This isn’t entirely true. Ross fills his days with selling bootleg horror movies, cheating on his two-timing girlfriend and hating life in general. He feels trapped in a vicious circle of uselessness.
Just as he begins to resign himself to the mid-twenties twilight he seems unable to escape, he starts to notice men in radiation suits, following him. Filming him.
Yes, zombies do turn up eventually, but they’re more of a backdrop. They’re part of the scenery. Admittedly they’re scenery that bites and moans, but they are as much the focus of the story as the various houses that the protagonists pass through.
So, if this isn’t a novel about zombies, what is it?
In a nutshell, it’s Chuck Palahniuk with zombies. I have it on good authority that the author hates to be compared to Chuck Palahniuk, but the comparison is easily made. Not so much because their styles are similar (although they do both make use of a chorus), but the themes they explore and the cynicism they use in the process.
They also both manage to make this bleakness come off as truly depressing, rather than annoyingly whiny. I almost put the book down after the first sixty pages–not because I wasn’t enjoying it, quite the contrary. It was just that Ross’ cynicism and self-doubt were rubbing off on me.
Still, the Palahniuk comparison didn’t occur to me till I started writing this review. During the reading of the novel itself, I was too busy trying to figure out what was going on to wonder about how best to describe the book.
The plot hinges on mystery. It works, because it keeps the reader sufficiently interested to slog through the confusing bits. However, the confusing parts were trying. Although everything comes together nicely by the end of the book, Hornsby makes his audience work hard.
There is more than enough incentive to push yourself as a reader, though. You’re coaxed through the confusing plot twists and chronological jumps with hints and suggestions of a greater conspiracy. No matter how much is revealed, there is always something held just out or reach to keep you going.
If you’re looking for a zombie book with a twist–or rather, a twisted book with zombies–then Every Sigh, The End is definitely the book to pick up.