I was surprised from page xi to find a a zombie novel written in the first person. Aren’t zombies … dead? Do they even have a perspective? Step aside Rudy Wiebe, Sheldon Funk is a Canadian Mennonite with one hell of a frontier story. Funk is a gay vegan turned zombie. Still equipped with his memories and burdened with an elderly mother in need of care, Funk must square what’s left of his humanity against his new-found taste for human flesh. Even mom seems appetizing. Funk proves himself a zombie for all seasons.
Husk is Corey Redekop’s second novel. Like his first one, Shelf Monkey, you could call this one funny, in an angsty 21st century, reality tv sort of way. “Call me Shel” — it’s as good a quote as any. Funk’s death in the bus toilet is funny, I guess, but not in a way I feel good about. I note many similarities with Shelf Monkey. A good-hearted but failed middle-aged man finds himself in an impossible work situation and commits ethically questionable acts. Events escalate out of control, compelling him forward, surprising everyone including himself that he winds up a hero of sorts. Well of course there are similarities — the books have the same author. David Adams Richards has told essentially the same story in several novels, gradually perfecting his craft. Get working on number three, Corey.
Events do escalate out of control. Just when you think Husk is only some humanitarian (or whatever) plea that zombies are (were) people too, this zombie gets the chance of a lifetime (so to speak) to solve all his life’s (er, oh screw it) problems. The failed actor gets an audition for a good acting job in a thriller. His challenge is to act like he’s still among the living. By the time you have finished the book you will have a whole new perspective on life. Live as if you were going to die … yesterday.