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The Jamie Oliver of Zombies

By MJones, member

Jan 2, 2011: It’s not every day you stumble upon a zombie love story that contains a zombified chef who considers himself the Jamie Oliver of the living dead. Kaveh, an immigrant from Iran, is doing his best to open up a Persian restaurant that is reflective of his culture. Unfortunately, during his effort to get a loan for his new restaurant, his dreams are crushed by a sudden horde of zombies who lay siege to the bank. He is bitten, and fatally infected, but before the disease fully takes hold of him he manages to connect with a young teller named Lisa. Through his lingering memory of her, Kaveh manages to hold onto a shred of his humanity, despite becoming a zombie. What follows is a tense, gory and funny ride into one zombie chef’s dream of taking a bite out of inevitability.

Kaveh remains aware of himself, but this is an ongoing battle, one which results in him eating brains, which the other mindless zombies have not realized is the prime delicacy of the living. Though he tries to educate them, all in vain, for his fellow zombies can only consider the satisfaction of their hunger and not the pleasures of what eating entails. The rejection of what is new or alien is a running theme throughout the novel, and Kaveh himself is an excellent metaphor. Suffering prejudice when he was alive, it was doubtful he ever would have gained his bank loan, and now in death he struggles against the mindless mouths of his fellow zombies. In a culture where eating well is synonymous with filling one’s gullet with fried foods of questionable value, one can easily envision the living dead taking on the same base sentiments towards their screaming snacks.

But Kaveh is a zombie on a mission, and he does his best to bring his brainy culinary discovery to the moaning masses. Effort after effort is made to design and cook the best possible dish and bring this awareness to others. The futile hope is dashed repeatedly, and eventually Kaveh himself has to admit defeat. He realizes he is clinging to dreams that no longer have any basis in reality, and to pursue them unchanged is to have nothing but a long stretch of disappointment ahead of him.

In Lisa, he finds a kindred spirit, though not one of culinary understanding so much as her mindset. Suffering from epilepsy and the prejudices this disease carries with it, Lisa has spent the majority of her life in survival mode, taking refuge in zombie movies and working out escape plans that would turn her into a heroine. However, like Kaveh, when her dreams meet their reality she is also disappointed. She is not the master zombie killer she thought she would be, nor is she especially capable of saving anyone. In a world ruled by chaos, both Kaveh and Lisa also become swept up inside of it and their connection is cemented by this realization.

Thus, for Kaveh and Lisa, making assumptions about their future only hinders their progress. When they are able to shed the expectations they have set up for themselves, they are finally truly able to transform and pursue those dreams, drastically altered though they may be. Sometimes, true happiness comes with what you make of what you have left. Tim Kay has given us a delightfully irreverent zombie romance, one that leaves a deep impression on the reader long after it has been read. The author has been kind enough to make this wonderful novel available online for free at Go ahead and tempt your brain with the deeper thoughts this story stirs within you. Kaveh and Lisa intend to make a meal of it.

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