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The Resurrectionist Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 8, 2008
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The wraparound story in this multi-layered tale is about Sweeney, a pharmacist by trade, and his young son, Danny, the victim of an accident that has left him in a coma. Sweeney moves Danny to a hospital specializing in comatose patients, the Peck Clinic. The Doctors Peck, father and daughter, claim to have "resurrected" two patients from the void of deep coma. Prior to Danny's accident, he and Sweeney had been reading a fantasy series of comic books called Limbo, and it is around these stories that things get really interesting. There are circus freaks, weird stunts, an apparent "resurrection" or two, a long odyssey in search of a lost father--any number of plot lines and characters overlapping between what is real in Sweeney's life, and what might be a dream or drugged reality, and what is storybook fiction.
Alongside all the strange and convoluted events of the novel there is a compelling meditation on the power of story, the meaning of madness and sanity and the very nature of consciousness. This is more than fantasy; it is a masterful and wholly imaginative invention based on the sad reality of a father and son trying to find one another again. --Valerie Ryan
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Initially, everything seems rather straightforward and distinct, but Clotho weaves these threads together so that the distinctions begin to blur, and then blur in a major way indeed. You'll find that by the end of the book, things are very different from what you thought they were, and you may have a hard time trying to separate reality (such as there is) from fantasy. But you'll also find that the ending seems to make perfect sense, in a bizarre and convoluted way.
O'Connell is able to draw a picture of a fascinating world. It's a very different world--unsettling, disturbing, jugular. It's strong and effective writing, and it resembles some sort of odd underground comic without pictures. Powerful stuff!
Here is the heart of "The Resurrectionist" by Jack O'Connell (page references are to the Algonquin hardbound edition):
"...he understood that the universe, the fabric of reality, was composed of nothing more than particles of longing, a kind of quantum desire for absolute connection. Dr. Peck understood that, from moment to moment, we are profoundly asleep and, so, profoundly alone. ...He knew that every arousal he achieved would bring him closer to answers that had more to do with the nature of consciousness than of coma." (143)
"...this was what he lived for: that instant of pure, galloping potential, that feeling of downrushing epiphany. ...But calling forth fresh thought was, like summoning demons, a precarious process. And, for Dr. Peck, it required an instinctual blending of the right amounts of whimsy, research, fatigue, daydream, alcohol, and stress. It also required the right environment.... Finally, the summoning required a marriage of humility and patience that could allow the idea to reveal itself in its own manner and time. The idea, it must be understood, is always in charge." (145-146)
"...the calling to medicine -- at least the kind of visionary medicine to which he aspired -- was more than a vocation; it was destiny. And as such, it called for a radical lifestyle. Doctors, like monks, were forever at risk of infiltration by the domestic world. He concluded... that they should be solitary, if not entirely celibate, creatures. ...set apart." (146-147)
As in his earlier work, "Word Made Flesh," O'Connell has staked his claim on the phenomenon of creativity and developed a glossus of images to convey his theories and exasperations.Read more ›
This is a book I wish a re-write was available for. I would have rated it much higher had more of the threads spun earlier in the novel came to fruition in a more tangible manner.
To be sure, in his four previous novels O'Connell has been guilty of flaying a man alive in visceral prose and a bout of dwarf throwing. He has also brought us some of the most riveting prose in contemporary American literature, managing to combine highly cerebral ideas with riveting narrative structures.
I have recently read three blog critiques which have left me wondering about the Giordian knot that O'Connell has entangled himself in by simply being ambitious. They have also left me wondering about the cognitive abilities of certain readers. Thus this missive is directed at G.B.H. Hornswoggler (who, just via his/her presumed pseudonym is probably not to be taken too seriously), Carrie Laben and Mike Meginnis (who, in his blog, admits that "I'm not writing in order to be a productive critic..."). All three have taken a sledgehammer to The Resurrectionist and all three, I believe, read a very different book to the one I have now delved into twice with total relish.
It is more than a little difficult to contextualize O'Connell's writings. He's become, deservedly, something of a cult [and sadly I have to stress cult] favourite via his first four books, The Skin Palace, Box Nine, Wireless and Word Made Flesh - all of which I can heartily recommend as well. These were all categorized as `crime' novels, which didn't even start to encompass their bizarre depths.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I find myself confused about what the author intended to convey. There are a lot of interesting notions here, but if you're looking for a story about realistic characters, this is... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jim and Judy Leth
The other reviews do a good job of describing the book. I'll just add my reaction. I almost returned it to the library without finishing it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Elsee88
The writing style was not for me. Don't get me wrong, I love this genre, but this novel was very hard to follow.Published 16 months ago by Sarah E.
The end was unusual and you're left not quite sure how to feel or think. The most valuable and well done portion had to do with the Comic characters. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Natasha
If you like straightforward, linear story-telling, you aren't going to like this book. That being said, I just loved it - right until the end. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Terry Wheeler
I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. Not quite my typical genre. That having been said, I was captivated pretty fast. This story is just plain weird. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Kindle Customer
A boy in a coma, a sinister comic book, bikers addicted to a drug made from brain fluid, a doctor who can only relate to his pet reptile... It makes a coherent but unhappy story. Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by Monster Alice
The parts that I could grasp were well written, but the storyline as a whole was hard to follow. The ending was a let down. Read morePublished on December 18, 2013 by Annie
Well, maybe not completely unexpected. This book is well written and the story line intriguing but I don't enjoy erotica and we have shared family kindle content so I quit reading... Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by V. Burnett