THE ZERO AND THE ONE BY RYAN RUBY
PUBLISHED BY TWELVE BOOKS
REVIEW BY AIDAN WHITEHURST
Fitting into prestigious universities like Oxford can provide an overwhelming sense of exclusion to those who aren’t already in the upper echelon of society. Owen’s saving grace is the close relationship he forms with the boisterous American Zach, a proud sociopathic misfit. Zach and Owen together prove to be one another’s enablers, immersing themselves in a world of sex, inebriation and new experience (in other words, uni-life). Zach and Owen bind themselves immortally in a suicide pact, however this does not come to fruition as Zach punches out first. Zach’s death leaves Owen perplexed as the deepest secrets of their relationship are uncovered as he attempts to understand Zach’s motive, but it is Zach’s sister that Owen finds most troubling.
The one thing that will ensnare you is Ruby’s writing and the way the narrative drifts seamlessly between the past and the present, providing a broad insight into the philosophies that bound the protagonists. The writing style is a little too sophisticated for a new adult novel, yet the premise is the coming of age and acceptance, so it is kind of hard to place who this was written for. In any case it is a worthwhile read for the revolutionary in all of us, who don’t belong as one of those Oxford types…
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.