Title: Wicked Weeds
Author: Pedro Cabiya
Genre: Fiction, Humor, Science Fiction
Synopsis: A Caribbean zombie—smart, gentlemanly,financially independent, and a top executive at an important pharmaceutical company—becomes obsessed with finding the formula that would reverse his condition and allow him to become “a real person.” In the process, three of his closest collaborators (cerebral and calculating Isadore, wide-eyed and sentimental Mathilde, and rambunctious Patricia), guide the reluctant and baffled scientist through the unpredictable intersections of love, passion, empathy, and humanity. But the playful maze of jealousy and amorous intrigue that a living being would find easy to negotiate represents an insurmountable tangle of dangerous ambiguities for our “undead” protagonist.
Wicked Weeds is put together from Isadore’s scrapbook, where she has collected her boss’ scientific goals and existential agony, as well as her own reflections about growing up as a Haitian descendant in the Dominican Republic and what it really means to be human. The end result is a precise combination of Caribbean noir and science-fiction, Latin American style.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Wicked Weeds. Labelled as a novel caught in the crossroads of Caribbean noir and science-fiction, it promised to be something I’ve never experience before. I engulfed the novel in a single sitting, and when it was over I found myself in an absolute daze. This book packs a punch few novels on my bookshelves possess. There is not a single wasted page or stray paragraph.
Our “undead” protagonist is a curious man. Obsessed with finding a cure that would reverse his condition and allow him to become “a real person,” we see him thrust into a strange tango with his three beautiful collaborators. Unlike his young colleges, our zombie no longer has the capacity for emotion. More than that, he can not longer ever recall what it was like to possess feelings of any kind. There is a physical barrier between him and the living world—one that encompasses taste and touch. This creates a humorous scenario that dominates most of the plot and spurs us through the majority of the book’s pages.
The content of this novel was incredibly unique and fresh. I found myself engrossed by the science of our zombie character, intrigued by his inability to grasp the complexity of human emotions, and thrilled with the references to modern “zombie culture” in both books and movies. The details of Isadore’s scrapbook had me believing ever word of it.
An element of Wicked Weeds that enthralled me was the format of its content. The table of contents offers an alternative reading of this book—one of categories. The novel is ordered in a articular way that offers the reader to chose between reading the novel as it is ordered, or skipping certain chapters and backtracking in order to read the contents in its respective categories. I chose the later option, and found the story much more engrossing to follow the guidelines set forth in the table of contents rather than read the book in the order it was printed. This creative element really set this book apart from the rest of its so called “zombie novel” genre, breathing new life within its cover. I’m so glad I decided to read such a unique and colorful story.