A book by Joan Frances Turner

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I don't know that I've ever had a book make me feel as physically nauseous as DUST

  • Sep 7, 2010
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I don't know that I've ever had a book make me feel as physically nauseous as I did while reading DUST. It is grotesque, gruesome, and gory from start to finish.

I'm kind of marveling at the 180 that I've gone through with DUST. I liked the concept of a zombie novel written from the perspective of the undead, I loved the book trailers that spoofed the old Public Service Announcements, and I still think the first line is one of the best ever: "My right arm fell off today. Lucky for me, I'm left-handed." But I discovered before even finishing the first chapter is that there maybe a very good reason why zombies don't always get the starring role.

DUST is intelligently written, the character of Jessie (pardon the pun) fully fleshed out, and the zombie sub culture unsettling in its realism. But, and this is a big but, the actually storyline staggers along like a rotting corpse ultimately decaying into a bizarre and confusing ending that was trying to be poignant but instead was corny and possibly ridiculous (depending on how you interpret it).

And I can't downplay how vivid and detailed the descriptions of putrefying flesh are. There are pages and pages of sensory overload on the various stages of zombie decay from the fresh rotters, bloaters, bugs, and finally mummy-like dusters. And I'm not even going to start on the cannibalistic feasts. I'm just glad I read this book on an empty stomach:

Mags giggled from deep in what was left of her throat and Joe threw an arm around me, sprays of maggots shooting from the rips in his leather jacket like little grubworm confetti.

A lot of reviewers and authors I admire are raving about this book, praising it for how daring and real it is. No argument here on how real it is, but the daring part fell flat for me, especially the ending. More than anything else, however, is the gross factor that was so disgusting and incessant that I had to put DUST down several times while I fought to control my gag reflex. If I could give this a 1 1/2 bat rating I would, but since the writing itself is good and the world building very creative, it gets a 2 out of 5. Consider yourself warned.

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Abigail ()
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I am a 20-something book lover with an obsession for all things urban fantasy. I cut my teeth on the paranormal genre withBuffyandTwilightbefore discoveringPatricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. Suffice … more
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Joan Frances Turner on Dust

It started with George Romero, but then it almost always does. Friday night, October sometime in the mid-1990s, and the original 1968 Night of the Living Dead was the only thing on television. I'd never seen it and had no particular interest in zombies, but the only alternative was my contracts law textbook so why not? And from the moment poor doomed Johnny solemnly intoned "They're coming to get you, Bar-buh-rah!", the movie had me, and it kept me, and the ending was a punch in the gut. The grainy black and white, the clumsy acting, the slapdash storyline and foolish self-destructive characters and almost nonexistent special effects weren't deterrents, they were the whole point. It all looked like ancient footage from some amateur documentary, and real people act foolish at the worst possible times. I never saw the remake, or any of the sequels: It wasn't the idea of zombies, themselves, that had me, it was that particular story. I didn't seek out any other.

Flash forward to 2003, and Carnival of Souls. More cheap black and white, shot on a shoestring in the middle of nowhere, and when Mary Henry's hand emerged from the depths of a Kansas lake long after she should have drowned they had me, again. Were those technically zombies, though, or were they ghosts? It had to be the former, for no ghost appears in the flesh as she did, walks among the living almost but not quite one of them, inspires their unwitting yet visceral disgust: They ...
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ISBN-10: 0441019285
ISBN-13: 978-0441019281
Author: Joan Frances Turner
Publisher: Ace Hardcover

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