Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quick Review - The Resurrectionist

Hello Dear Readers,

Hope you're all well. Brian Hall is in the store tonight reading from his newest novel, Fall of Frost. I'm downstairs and the event is upstairs so I can't tell you anything more specific about it. I'm sure it is wonderful.

Last night I finished The Resurrectionist by Jack O'Connell. I finished the book, and I enjoyed it most of the time, but I can't give it a rousing recommendation. The novel is made up of two interwoven storylines which ultimately share space in some common reality. The gritty realist storyline is centered around Sweeney, a pharmacist whose 6-year-old son fell into a surprise coma. A couple of months after 'the incident' his wife kills herself, and our story begins as Sweeney brings his son, Danny, to a state-of-the-art (and yet creepily gloomy) extended-care facility which specializes in waking the coma-struck. Debates over the levels and types of consciousness experienced by coma patients continue throughout the book, making the simple term 'unconscious' somewhat inappropriate. Sweeney slogs through thick grief while beginning his new job at the clinic, moving into his down-trodden apartment, and trying to take care of his son in whatever capacity possible. Meanwhile in storyline number two a band of good-hearted circus freaks in a fictional Bohemian country are forced to leave their home-circus and strike out on their own to discover some hidden destiny. Check out a more complete and better written review here, I'm running out of time to explain everything (oh, and I have some issues with O'Connell's female characters, both were heavily sexualized and commanded tremendous power, but in subservient ways and with weirdly superficial personalities. Oh wait, I'm forgetting most of the nurses, who for the most part were not sexualized) so, to summarize, this novel is a surreal, grimy, dreamy journey with some exciting sections, some engaging ideas and enough strangeness to keep things moving, but something a smidge less than a satisfying union of strands. I look forward to hearing him speak (Here! At The Odyssey! On 4/16-08! Come ask him yourself about how the Abominations match up to the Limbo Freaks!), and you should all come too. It should be fun. Best,

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