- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (Nov. 15 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1551521970
- ISBN-13: 978-1551521978
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,203,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Zed Paperback – Nov 15 2005
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Zed is a tale to be pondered by all those who wield power over the vulnerable. McCLung's plot twists and images wrestle the emotions before the intellect can pin them down, but when her message at last emerges from the blood and bedlam the effect is devasting: Terror begins at home. Then it grows.
-The Globe and Mail (Globe & Mail)
One of the best books of 2006: a piercent lament for all kids who are ill-used by their keepers. One of the top 100 books of 2006.
-The Globe and Mail (Globe and Mail)
The combination of near future dystopia and murder mystery means that one is drawn relentlessly along toward a conclusion which, even if it doesn't seem completely justified, is fitting for such a vivid and explosive book.
-Monday Magazine (Monday Magazine)
A humorous, but disturbing read.
-The Vancouver Sun (The Vancouver Sun)
A masterfully written first novel.... Zed, both the book and protagonist, is truly original ... the definition of provocative, if you can handle it.
-Zoe Whittall, NOW Magazine (Zoe Whittall Now Magazine)
A hellishly engaging novel ... Zed not only merits cinematic interpretation, it demands it.
-Rain Taxi (Rod Smith Rain Taxi review of)
Her debut novel Zed doesn't seem to be classified as a "horror" but holy crow, this book sufficiently filled my horrific quota. A NOW review tweaked my interest on this one and I wasn't disappointed. Despite being written from the point of view of a 12 year old girl, Zed, this book is most definitely not for kids. Heck, this book is not for most adults. Murder, rape, addiction, sociopaths ... all that and more, navigated by young Zed within the confines of an inner city project. Zed is appalling yet believable. I can't wait for Ms. McClung's next book!
-CBC Radio (CBC Radio)
McClung's dark, wicked sense of humor shows through as she chronicles Zed's profoundly disturbing exploits. Shocking and complete with alarming psychological insights, Zedis like nothing you've read before.
-Pages magazine (Pages magazine)
Zed is the kind of work about which the adjective 'disturbing' usually applies. That's really an understatement.... It is a riveting, sometimes scary work.... Zed is laced with the kind of wit that could take the rust off your handlebars.
-University of Toronto Quarterly (University of Toronto Quarterly 2008-01-01)
From the Publisher
ZED named the best book of 2006 by Jim Bartley, first fiction reviewer for The Globe and Mail: "A piercing lament for all kids who are ill-used by their keepers." ZED also won the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in Science Fiction, announced in Washington, DC in June 2006.See all Product description
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Is it horror, or punk, or a mystery? I think it is probably the best book written about the ins and outs of urban survival, living the black market life and staying alive ever. This makes Ballard's Crash look like some male fantasy (actually a lot of ballard reads like a male control fanatasy). This isn't reality, this is darker than that - this is what Gloom Cookie is to Goths - This is like pulling back the mirror and curtain of Oz and getting eaten for it.
If you are tired of reading Can Lit which is about trees, middle class angst or feeling good - then this is the book for you. You will likely hate most of the characters - indeed really really hate them, and those that you do like, you may wonder why you like them. No cuteness, just hard steel, concrete and NOT the girl next door. But probably the best line by line writing that you have read in a long, long time. But the real question...when does Zed II come out?
The main character Zed, probably isn't as tough as she thinks she is, but she carries it off with such determination that you find yourself rooting for the relative sane 12 year old girl in a concentrated building of junkies, sex offenders and sociopaths. And while the book has more language than Deadwood (a mightly accomplishment), and more violence than Mad Max it is a story about hope and survival against all odds. And behind the grim humour is a struggle that many who faced adversity have faced: what is more important - my self respect/identity or my survival?
It is a book I have already read twice, and it makes you want to read every page. It is laugh out loud funny but in ways that you will never want to explain to your mother. But more important, it moves and stretches you in ways that you never dream of when you pick up the book. I think the worst was when I stopped halfway and said to myself: "This is hell...and I like it here."
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Take the title character, Zed. Tough, orphaned, living by her wits, Zed has numerous predecessors in literature (Pippi Longstocking, Dido Twite, Deenie Gauthier, to name just three). But whereas those characters were all given a backstory to help explain in part what makes them tick, author McClung doesn't feel the need to do that with Zed. We have no idea how she ended up in the Bosch-like nightmare of a tower block that is her home, how she learned to read somewhat, why Luc (the evil genius-cum-Danny Zuko of the building) is so avuncular toward her for most of the book, and how she became the scrounger that she is. We're expected to take McClung's word for all of this, which makes it tough to care too deeply about Zed.
McClung also seems to have decided that there was no need to describe visuals, though she's more generous when it comes to describing odors. Is there a reason we don't know what Zed or Luc look like?
Then there are the plot points and details that aren't true to even the fictional reality. Early on Zed is described as looking younger than 12, largely because she doesn't get three square meals a day. How, then, does she muster up the strength to take down bulky grown men hired as bodyguards/bruisers, let alone survive some brutal torture?
This book angered me in a way few books have--but not because of the subject matter. It angered me because McClung is clearly a talent writer with a fierce imagination, but lax editing (or a lack of an editor altogether) resulted in her strengths being obscured by ther weaknesses.
If you like thrillers, I recommend this book. If you like literature, I recommend this book. If you like being carried along in a story to a place you never knew existed, to be returned, shaking but safe, back to your bedroom, then I recommend this book. If you want to know what russian roulette is like without having someone clean your brains off the wall, I recommend this book.
This book will make you feel things, and that's rare. It doesn't cajole you or make you misty eyed, but gives you the charge of a junkie, covered in oozing infected pus, pawing at you, demanding attention. Like it or not, you will feel things, you will care about Zed, even as you must wait, powerless to help her. If you think of yourself as a reader, maybe you think you've seen it all. Then read this.
McClung writes a smart, tough adolescent with just the right balance of naivete and insight. She doesn't wrap up all the loose ends, but to Zed the loose ends don't matter as long as the deal is done.