cover image It Lasts Forever and Then It’s Over

It Lasts Forever and Then It’s Over

Anne de Marcken. New Directions, $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-8112-3821-2

De Marcken debuts with an unsettling narrative of grief and zombies. The undead narrator, who has forgotten her real name, sets out from the hotel where she has been sheltering with other zombies, who are united in their hunger and divided over new religions cropping up among them, and heads west—“West because west is the direction of leaving behind. West because west is the last resort. I go west because west is where I remember you”—in a quest to remember who she once was, and to capture a sense of the person who loved her and made her life worth living. Along the way she says goodbye to her zombie friends, loses limbs, and acquires a dead crow as a companion. De Marcken never loses sight of the grand themes of life, death, and decay, as the narrator riffs cleverly on the nature of her condition (“Zombies used to be drug addicts, television watchers, videogame players. Now zombies are zombies. Consumers are consumers”). It amounts to a sharp and weighty depiction of what does and doesn’t make someone human. (Mar.)