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The Resurrectionists: A Novel Hardcover – September 24, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743229045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743229043
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,651,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Louis N. Gruber VINE VOICE on December 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Frank Cassidy is a likeable, well-read lowlife with the most dysfunctional family since Cain and Abel. His marriage is disintegrating, his job is going nowhere, his stepson hates him, and his wife's previous husband, awaiting execution in Georgia, hovers around the family like a malignant phantom. Into this dismal picture comes news that Frank's father (actually stepfather, actually his uncle, Ward), has been killed. Frank has fantasies of going back and claiming his share of the family farm; maybe even unraveling his tortured past, sorting out what really happened when his parents were mysteriously killed in a fire many years before.
Of course there are many complications between low life in New Jersey and new life in the upper peninsula of Michigan. For one, he isn't welcome; for another he has to steal two cars and $4000 to finance the trip. Strangely enough, you continue to like Frank, and you hope things will work out for him. And in strange, unexpected ways, they do.
Along the way he tries to reconstruct his past, hidden behind layers of family secrets, and the destructive probing of an incompetent therapist many years before. And the surprise ending is really out of the ordinary.
Michael Collins is an excellent writer, but the book does have some flaws. The dialogue is sometimes had to believe, too literary for the characters who are speaking it. The portrayal of psychiatric illness and treatment is so far from reality, even for the time portrayed, that it is a little embarrassing to the modern reader. The author should have done a bit more homework in this area.
All in all, though, the book works, it is entertaining, it keeps you involved, and--yes--the characters do find new life. I recommend this book. Louis N. Gruber
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Format: Hardcover
There is nothing quite like the disquieting genius of this book, the dream-like skewing of reality and truth, that captures so chillingly, and sometimes disturbingly the free-fall paranoia and despair of its characters, and yet ultimate redemption. Set in the early eigties, but dealing with the mysterious death of the main character's parents in a fire in the early fifties, we are taken on a journey through space and time, first on a road journey from New Jersey to Upper Michigan, then a journey back in time to a sort of 50's esque world of paranoia and secrets. Here we find some strange characters, a murder suspect who has hung himself and exists in a coma at an old Polio and mental institution. It is into this bizarre world of psycho-analysis that the main character must venture to understand a secret 30 years old.
Coupled with this Collins adds another dimension, the main character's wife who was previously divorced and has a husband on death row. His death looms throughout the book. The husband wants to his organs donated for medical purposes, however, his wife suspects, he wants to come after her.
In strange ways Collins brings us face to face with moral and ethical questions. It is often only upon reflection, you see understand what you read which is a weird and discomforting aspect of this book, but works because of the subject matter. I confess to rereading chapters, and in a way that is what the book is about, reruns, about returning again to history, to a story.
Collins has done something few writers are capable of doing, a work where both its content and its style are interwoven in a virtuoso way.
The end will blow you away.
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Format: Hardcover
This book seems to start out on the wrong foot. It is narrated by Frank Cassidy, somebody with only a rudimentary education on the lower rungs of life. You wonder where he gets all that penny-ante philosophy and the flight of lyrics from: "We were all nobodies at our essence". Or "The silver scratches of falling rain". That kind of writing can be irritating.
But, later, we meet up with the characters of the book, such as as the wife Honey and the children Robert Lee and `Ernie, Franks uncle Ward Cassidy, the neighbors Sam and Chester Green, the psychiatrist Dr. Brown, Ward's son Norman and his wife Martha. They all are what you would call "damaged goods". The mystery at the center of the story is: Who killed Frank's parents who dies in the arson of their home. And what goes on with "The Sleeper", who lies in a waking coma at the local hospital. And who killed Ward Cassidy?
The story is told with great skill, lifting the vail of a snowy landscape only a little at a time, keeping you guessing. You get a feeling of floating along with it, never able to penetrate the various mysteries. In that respect, it is a great novel.
The solution to it all comes on the last few pages. It makes convoluted sense, but is far from satisfying. The novel might have more impact if it had been told straight forward, without Frank's ruminations.
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Format: Hardcover
Forget the pandering niceties of middle-American values, the sanitized prime-time banalities that plague TV, and journey with a modern Steinbeck, who takes us on a solitary journey across America in search of home and a new life. At least Steinbeck's Jode family had the collective solace of fellow Oakies while wandering West. There was a recognizable enemy. Here in late 20th century America, we face the disenfranchisement of a collective spirit. Frank the protagonist of The Resurrectionists, works as a short-order cook, isolated from his past, marooned in New Jersey in a dead-end life and dead-end marriage. He had two kids, one not of his own "begetting," a step-son, and one that is his own flesh and blood.
I would go further... There is a whirlwind of suspense, murder, pain and redemption in this novel. It was featured in our reading group, and it was a novel that was reviled and loved in equal measure, but the genuine vision and insights of the narrator and author cannot be denied. Not to everybody's tastes, but then again, taste should not be the discriminating factor in acknowledging the genius of a work.
The novel generated, let me be frank, a sense of antagonism between defenders and detractors, something that we�ve not experienced in the six years we�ve been meeting. I think the debate surrounded political ideology and social beliefs. The Resurrectionists pits us against a man who, despite his humanity by the end of the novel, is capable of murder and has an innate sense of survival. He is, as self-described, a scavenger at the edge of our consciousness� Scary stuff in the most real sense �
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