This sweet little pantomime about a low rent romance that was never meant to be is also a zombie story. In fact, it’s a pretty straightforward zombie story and, in that way, exciting, even though it’s acted out by Jason’s animal creature people.
“The Living and the Dead” follows the leaden trudging of a kitchen worker who has fallen for a neighborhood prostitute. He longs for her from afar, occasionally checking her price, and saves the best he can for that moment he can afford her.
And then the dead rise from the graves.
But Jason’s purpose is more than just horror movie satire. Dead in their own lives, Jason’s couple must come to life via the zombies, showing a side of each to the other that never would have risen from such a blase transaction. With the final moment of the book revealing what this has all been leading up to — a simple thing, really, but one that I won’t spell out — the idea seems to be that it all has to be torn down in order to create a system for these two people to be allowed to be together. And the real question is whether humanity will join them or they will join humanity.