Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fiction: Husk by Corey Redekop

No one watching such things in Canada doubts his voice or his vision: Corey Redekop has emerged as one of the writers to pay attention to over the coming few years.

Redekop’s debut, Shelf Monkey, has been equally lauded and trampled, but the trampling has contained such vitriol, you just knew you had to pay attention. Notice of the other kind was sterling. The book was called one of the Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade by CBC and Canada Reads.

The author’s sophomore effort, Husk (ECW), delivers a similar blend of humor and thought-provoking observation. This time out, however, Redekop finds those observations in a strange but surprising place. Strictly speaking, Husk is a zombie novel. At least on the surface.

The narrator and protagonist, the husk formerly known as Sheldon Funk, is an “everyzombie” and Redekop instantly and without apparent effort does the impossible on the very first page: he makes Sheldon in zombie form sympathetic. Think about it: a sympathetic zombie. How does that even work? The book opens thus:
I miss breathing. 
Sounds stupid, yes. Autonomic system was always there for me. Did the work whether I remembered to inhale or not. Took breaths in and out unfailingly. Never let me down …. 
Something that was always there. 
 Like sunsets. 
Complex if I ever thought about it, but why would I? Taking things for granted is a core component of the human experience.
Nevertheless, I miss it.
As charming as these early observations may be, they do not a book from zombie perspective a story make and some of Husk gets very dark and very violent, indeed. The most trenchant observation about Husk comes from the wonderful Andrew Pyper (The Killing Circle) who called the book “Camus meets Palahniuk." That’s possibly all the information potential fans for Redekop’s work will need in order to rush out and find a copy of their own. ◊

Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of several books.



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