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"The Resurrectionist" by Jack O’Connell

Posted by cervantor on PM000000120000000030 1, 2008

Official “The Resurrectionist” Website
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If Jack O’Connell’sThe Resurrectionist” was a movie, it would need to be adapted by someone like Tim Burton (Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands), Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep), Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), or the anime director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers, Perfect Blue). Someone who can deftly blur the lines between reality and imagination, who can entertain as well as challenge, and who can evoke fantasy and the nightmarish as convincingly as the poignant and the mysterious. For “The Resurrectionist” is all of these things and while it would be difficult to capture all of the subtle nuances that the novel has to offer, it would be worth the effort because Jack O’Connell has written a magical story that deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible…

At the heart of this amazing story is Sweeney, a pharmacist whose six-year-old son Danny has been in a coma for over a year. How Danny got into this condition is just one of the book’s many mysteries, although we learn early on that it must have been a terrible ordeal because the mother committed suicide and the father is on the verge of a mental breakdown. Other secrets to be revealed include the controversial miracle-cure that the Peck Clinic has to offer its coma patients which involves illegally harvested fetuses and the Abominations biker gang who are either a threat to Sweeney and his son . . . or their saviors.

Then there’s the greatest mystery of all, Limbo, a popular children’s property that has its own TV show, comic book series, trading cards and clothing line, and is a favorite of Danny’s. What’s interesting about Limbo is that the author devotes an entire narrative—presented as comic book issues—to the gothic vaudevillian world which revolves around a group of former carnival sideshow freaks (the human torso, the fat lady, the hermaphrodite, Siamese twins, etc) and strongman Bruno Seboldt who are searching for chick boy’s father while trying to evade the clutches of the mad doctor Fleiss. In short, “The Resurrectionist” features two completely different storylines—one is a powerful drama about absolution, love, and faith; the other is a fantastical adventure about unlikely heroes—and discovering how these stories are connected is a big part of the book’s appeal. Because the connections go much further than just the obvious parallels—the Abominations/Limbo’s freaks, Dr. Peck/Fleiss, the Peck Clinic’s ‘arousal’ method/the Resurrectionist’s stage show, et cetera—and the journey towards uncovering all of the novel’s astonishing revelations and subtext is an unforgettable one that will constantly surprise, delight, and move you…

Now I’ve never read any of Jack’s other novels including “The Skin Palace”, “Word Made Flesh”, “Wireless” or “Box Nine”. In fact, I’ve never even heard of the author before “The Resurrectionist” so how the new book compares to the others in terms of quality, storytelling and the writing is not something I can answer. Personally though, I thought the writing was excellent led by accomplished prose, strong characterization, great dialogue, and consistent pacing not to mention the author’s wonderful imagination and a real talent for building suspense. And, since I’ve already talked about how compelling the two intertwining stories are, I’ll just conclude by stating that Jack O’Connell’sThe Resurrectionist” has my highest possible recommendation and should be recognized as one of the year’s best releases…


9 Responses to “"The Resurrectionist" by Jack O’Connell”

  1. Kimberly Swan said

    Sounds like we should all be taking a look at this one. 🙂

  2. Calibandar said

    Bought it as well, looks very interesting, had had many positive reviews as well.

  3. Robert said

    Kimberly, I can’t recommend the book enough! Calibander, I hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂

  4. Jared said

    I borrowed this from the library, and was well into the last half when I found myself–appropriately enough–lost in limbo.

    I reached page 200something and found the last 50 pages repeated. The story picked up where the missing pages would have ended.

  5. Robert said

    Jared, wow, that would be really annoying. Sorry to hear about! Hopefully you get a chance to actually finish the book…

  6. Chaz said

    Definitely a good read. Just now getting into this author and I’m looking forward to picking up his other works. He’s on a bit of a book tour right now, although my town (Crap-Lanta, GA) isn’t on his list of stops. Thanks for the link to his website– pretty sweet!

  7. Robert said

    Yeah, I love that website! Sorry he’s not hitting Atlanta, but maybe next time. I’m also looking forward to reading his other books 🙂

  8. monster paperbag said

    I gotta check this book out. Great review.

  9. Robert said

    Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book if you get the chance to read it 🙂

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