link to email nationalbook@nationalbook.org.
2006 National Book Award Finalist, Fiction

Share |

Photo credit: Dan Pelle
Jess Walter
The Zero
Regan/HarperCollins

About the Book
A provocative novel that follows the life of hero cop Brian Remy in the surreal days following a devastating terrorist attack.

About the Author
Jess Walter is the author of three previous novels, Citizen Vince, Land of the Blind and Over Tumbled Graves, a New York Times Notable Book. Also an acclaimed investigative reporter, he is the author of Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy of the Randy Weaver Family, which was made into a CBS miniseries. He lives in Spokane, Washington.

Suggested Links

www.jesswalter.com

Backlist

Citizen Vince, Regan Books

Land of the Blind, HarperCollins Publishers

Over Tumbled Graves, HarperCollins Publishers

Every Knee Shall Bow, HarperCollins Publishers

Excerpt from The Zero by Jess Walter

Copyright © 2006 by Jess Walter. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Remy leaned back in his seat and tried to breathe through his mouth. The smell never left him now. It lived in the lining of his nose and the fibers of his lungs—his whole body seemed to smell, as if the odor were working through his pores, the fine gray dust: pungent, flour of the dead. Remy was surprised at the air’s ferocity down here, acrid with concrete dust and the loosed molecules of burned . . . burned everything. It was amazing what could burn. We forgot that, Remy thought, in our fear of fission and fusion, radiation, infection, concussion and fragmentation. We forgot fire.
“You see Durgan’s kid on TV?”
Please be quiet.
“Big. I hadn’t seen his kid since we all played softball. That’s what I’m talkin’ about . . . seeing Durgan’s kid. I mean . . . honestly? Better him than me. Right? Come on. Admit it. Better his kid crying on TV than mine. Or yours. Right?”
Remy stared out the window.
“But here’s Durgan . . . dead as an eight-track, never get to see his kid again. And that could have been me, right? Except that, instead a bein’ dead, I ain’t even injured . . . or bankrupt. Or outta work. I got overtime comin’ out my ass. I got backstage passes to Springsteen, right? Durgan’s in pieces out there somewhere and I can’t even get anyone
to let me pay for a fuggin’ cuppa coffee no more. All because I was standin’ here and he was standin’ there. See? I’m just sayin’—”
“I know,” Remy interrupted. “Please. Paul.” Remy took off his cap and rubbed the stitches on the side of his head.
Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.”
“Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on.
“What made you do that?”
“I shot myself in the head last night.”
“Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment, staring straight ahead. “It looks good

Copyright © 2006 by Jess Walter. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


 



Copyright © 2007 National Book Foundation. Privacy Policy