Audiobook Review: Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher

28 05 2011

Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher

Read by Simon Vance

Blackstone Audio

Genre: Zombie Mashup

Quick Thoughts: A hilarious novel that probably would have worked even better if I was more of a Beatles fan. Simon Vance’s narration itself makes this title worth a listen.

Grade: B

Full Disclosure: I am not a Beatles fan. I mean that in the most literal sense of the word, fanatic. I like the Beatles, I even own some of their music, but I am not a fanatic about them. I don’t know much of their history and lore. It even took me a while to realize the title of Paul Goldsher’s zombie mash up novel was a reference to the infamous “Paul is Dead” incident. The Beatles were my mother’s band, not mine. Because of this, despite encouragements from people, and good reviews, I was hesitant on listening to Paul is Undead. Now, if there was zombie mashup novel featuring Bono and the Edge, I’d probably jump on it right away, yet I was concerned that I would miss jokes and references that would diminish my enjoyment of the novel. Yet, three weeks of listening to mostly Zombie Apocalypse novels gave me a taste for something different. Plus, I believed that a review of Paul is Undead by a non-Beatles fan could actually serve a purpose. Jus how well would a Generation of Love novel translate over to us Gen Xers?

First off, Paul is Undead is a hilarious novel. I found myself often laughing out loud. Told in an interview style that reminded me of mocumentary films like A Mighty Wind, the interplay between interviewees made for some true comedy gold. Not every joke worked. There were plenty of references I didn’t get, and a few I actually had to look up on the internet. For a true Beatles fan, these moments would probably have been quite funny, but the comic impact for me was lessened by needing to research them. For example, Goldsher made quite clever use throughout the novel of the phrase “toppermost of the poppermost” which I didn’t know, until I looked it up was a sort of call and response between John and the other members of the band. I enjoyed the zombie elements of the novel. They were unique and quite detailed. I had expected Goldsher to do the, “so they are zombies, let’s move on” thing but instead he spent a lot of time building his zombie mythos. Some Beatles fans may find these moments disturbing, while Zombie purists will scoff at Goldsher’s mythos, but I found Goldsher’s Liverpudian process to be a fascinating twist on zombie lore.

The true highlight of the audiobook for me was the narration of Simon Vance. From his spot on American accent to his impeccable comic timing this was the perfect match up of narrator to novel. I was glad that the producers didn’t go with the multi-narrator option. More and more, novel like this will use multiple narrators, but Vance impersonations of the fab four’s iconic voices, as well as his vocalizations of the multiple other characters, including Mick Jagger, were so well done it was like he was a one man narrating team. For non-Beatles fans, the narration itself is worth the price of admissions. Part of me wished I was more of a fan, because it would allowed me greater overall appreciation of this novel, yet there is enough here to please even cynical Coldplay fans.



3 responses

28 05 2011
Literate Housewife

So glad you enjoyed Simon Vance’s narration. It was the highlight for me as well. I’m maybe even less of a Beatles fan than you, but all you really needed was a pop culture familiarity. I wonder how a fanatic would feel?

31 05 2011

This sounds hilarious! My husband is the Beatles fan in my household and I’m going to recommend this one to him. I think I may give it a try too. The narrator sounds perfect for this book. I don’t mind multiple narrators, but as you said it’s not always necessary if you have the right narrator to begin with.

19 10 2012
Paul is Undead #AudioBook « Care's Online Book Club

[…] of talent as good as narrator Simon Vance. And then I find out that Kailana read this book, too. The Guilded Earlobe says exactly what I would say, so I’ll let him say it: A hilarious novel that probably would […]

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