Thursday, 22 October 2015

Book Review: The Oasis of Filth by Keith Soares

From its seemingly innocuous beginning, The Oasis of Filth is the chronicle of the outbreak of a mysterious disease that ravages mankind. The story is told by a doctor in suburban Maryland who is on the front lines of discovering the disease, but finds himself quickly overwhelmed by a world that collapses into paranoia, fear and loneliness. He makes an unexpected connection to Rosa, a beautiful woman half his age with an inquisitive nature and inherent sense of hope and resourcefulness, and together they go on a sprawling journey across the eastern United States, finding danger, hope, and possibly even the salvation of the world.

My Review:
The one thing I liked was having the combination of leprosy and rabies starting a zombie outbreak. But we never get told how patient zero ends up with both diseases or why every country in the world reported this strange medical issue at the same time. How did they become zombies? How exactly does the lack of hygiene begin mini outbreaks? How does not cleaning your clothes or house turn you into a zombie? None of this is addressed in the section of the book I read.

Instead it is one long description of the events over the last ten years from the start of the zombie virus until present day, where survivors are living in walled cities and hygiene obsession is your protection against infection. We have this doctor telling us about the first patient he had, the outbreak, the government building walls around cities, the strict hygiene rules, the lack of personal possessions, the grim life where you trust nobody and keep your head down. There is a lot of description about what life is like behind the walls and how people disappear if they don't follow hygiene rules.

There was a lot of the doctor thinking about a rumoured place called Oasis where people lived free, the way things were before the zombies. The doctor thinks about it and thinks about his friend talking to him about it but doesn't know if it exists or where it is or what it would be like there. There are a ton of stats about population and infection and zombie numbers and I felt there was too much of this.

There is so little dialogue in the book and when you do get a few lines, it feels forced, unrealistic and not very interesting. It's all about wondering where Oasis is or thinking about how grim life is, all things that have been described constantly already. There is so much detail about everything, but no time is spent really developing the characters. The doctor tells you about his new friend but we don't really connect with her because it is all tell and no show. And where are the zombies anyway?

This was very heavy going and I got bogged down by it. Not for me.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

2 comments:

  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy this. It sounds like they really could have made it a good book. Oh well, I am sure you will find something great soon!

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    1. There might have been a good story hidden under all the information but I ran out of energy to dig!

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