I wish I had the words to tell you how wonderful this book really is. It's a book full of lyrical prose, beautiful and terrible imagery, important and wondrous ideas, humour and hardcore horror. Centred around the idea of a zombie virus transmitted by language, the book touches on eye-opening concepts incorporating semiotics and neurolinguistics, as well as tapping into what it means to have a brain injury or mental illness. The horror comes not only from the physical suffering of the victims in the story, but from the idea of what it might be to lose control of one's own faculties, or to be fundamentally misunderstood by the rest of society. There are the themes of forgiveness, taboo, addiction and family which also run through the book.There are books which have taken me an extraordinarily long time to read because the writing style was so dense, but this is certainly not one of them. I did take a long time reading it, but because I wanted to re-examine every paragraph to see what I missed on first reading. I got the sense that I could continue to re-read this book for years to come and still discover new ideas in its pages. The chapters are mercifully short, which makes the book seem like it flies by regardless. The book is in two parts, and I have to say, the first was more cohesive than the second. In the second part, Burgess seems to get overexcited - trying to express too many ideas all at once, and not exploring any of them in great depth. In the Afterword, Burgess practically apologises for the book, and admits to having written the book as an experiment for himself, never really believing it would be read. I can certainly forgive him this, but I understand that the book may not be everyone's cup of tea. It is by no means a mainstream read, and readers who dislike horror, sexual taboos or the surreal may not be able to see past that.I won't give away any spoilers but near the end, Chapter 23 (The Worst Winter Ever) is wonderful. Even if you put the book down and decide not to finish it, please skip to this chapter and read. The chapter consists of dozens of stand-alone vignettes of people experiencing the zombie apocalypse. It is a great example of Burgess' writing style, even without the neurolinguistic theories.In case anyone is in any doubt, I do believe that this is a GREAT and IMPORTANT book, and it will join the handful of my all time favourites to be read again and again.NOTE - Yes there was a movie made about 10 years after the book. Both movie and book are brilliant, and Tony Burgess wrote the movie's screenplay. They are very different stories, in fact the only thing they have in common is the virus. It really doesn't matter if you see one or the other first.