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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Short Story Saturday: "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Alaya Dawn Johnson


Alaya Dawn Johnson's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is perhaps one of the most interesting and humanizing takes on a zombie story I've read.  It's by turns grotesque, funny and tender as it follows zombie teen Grayson on his search for brains and his conflicting desire for Jack, son of the ex-CIA crazy who's hunting him.  Grayson is afflicted by a prion -- a brain-thing, let's say -- that basically causes him to have an overwhelming desire to cannibalize.  When he meets the tasty-smelling Jack, he's pretty sure he's found his next four-course dinner, but then Jack starts talking about Grayson's favorite bands -- and he's just so cute, and he seems to be into Grayson, too...What's a zombie boy to do?

I absolutely loved this story.  Loved it.  It had this perfect tone of dark humor, but at the same time, you can't help but root for Grayson and Jack to get together and find a way to work around the, um, delicate issue of zombieism.  Johnson did a really impressive job of creating characters in a nano-second; it's so hard to connect to characters in a short story, but with Jack and Grayson, it's easy.  I always had a clear picture of who they were, and who Jack's dad was, because Johnson very skillfully inserted enough personality and detail continuously through out the story.

I don't want to talk about it too much because I don't want to give anything away, but I have to say, if you didn't intend to read Zombies vs. Unicorns, or you generally don't like zombie stories, pick this one up.  It's gross and funny and angsty and lovely.

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is found in the anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns --->

Alaya Dawn Johnson is the author of Moonshine and the Spirit Binders series.


  1. Wow! This short story sounds awesome! I really need to get reading on Unicorns vs. Zombies. The title of this short story makes me think of the awesome song with the same title by Joy Division.

  2. Do you believe I still have to buy this book?! I'm waiting because I'm studying for an important exam and I know that if I buy it now, I won't study, but read read read! sigh

  3. Really interesting. I might have to be putting a reserve on this book at the library.



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