The NYT Offends with its Sunday Book Review of Zone One


A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star, right?  Well that’s what New York Times book reviewer Glen Duncan thinks.

In his Sunday Book Review of Colson Whitehead’s complex new zombie novel, Zone One, Duncan sets the parallel between dating porn stars and what he initially perceives as slumming in genre fiction, and lets the rest of the review ride on the back of this comparison.  While he’s busy offending sex workers, he also speculates that readers attracted to the story for its post-apocalyptic zombie tale will encounter so many big words as to be morally affronted.  Duncan praises the book and comes around to the idea of intellectually stimulating genre fiction, but never quite comes around to the idea of sex workers as intellectually stimulating people, concluding of his imaginary couple only that, “they look pretty good together.”

The piece came to our attention via a witty retort by Savvy stripper and staff writer over at Tits and Sass, Bubbles (whose thoughts on this issue you can read here).

Melissa Tan is a former runway model, fashion designer, motorcycle enthusiast, and bacon aficionado who has written for The Examiner, The Rumpus, and The Bold Italic. When she’s not sewing or writing, she can be found hunting for new music or the perfect hot dog. Usually at the same time. More from this author →