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The Resurrectionists PDF, ePub eBook The solitude of the Upper Michigan Peninsula is Michael Collins’s heart of darkness in this compelling story of the unquiet dead. Frank Cassidy’s parents burned to death almost thirty years ago; now his uncle is dead—shot by a mysterious stranger who lies in a coma in the local hospital. Frank, working menial jobs to support his unfaithful wife and two children, heads nort The solitude of the Upper Michigan Peninsula is Michael Collins’s heart of darkness in this compelling story of the unquiet dead. Frank Cassidy’s parents burned to death almost thirty years ago; now his uncle is dead—shot by a mysterious stranger who lies in a coma in the local hospital. Frank, working menial jobs to support his unfaithful wife and two children, heads north in a series of stolen cars to dispute his cousin’s claim to the family farm. Once there, Frank wants answers, but realizes that what he is searching for—and the promise of the American Dream—is quickly receding from his grasp. Brilliant and unsettling, The Resurrectionists is an ironic yet chilling display of American culture in the seventies and a compassionate novel about a man struggling to overcome the crimes and burdens of his past.

30 review for The Resurrectionists

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Wolfe

    Reading the first 30 pages of this book reminds me of what great writing is. A complex, human narrator who I'm looking forward to following for the rest of the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ian Mapp

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "I couldn't quite get us back without incident for the burial of my father. We ran into a little trouble along the way. It took us two stolen cars along the interstate to get us home." Another great opening line that gets you hooked into this literary thriller from the start. The book is narrated by Frank Cassidy, "a scavenger at the edge of existence". He is married to Honey, father to a gifted child and step father to the wonderfully evil 15 year old step son, Robert Lee, you runs down Frank at "I couldn't quite get us back without incident for the burial of my father. We ran into a little trouble along the way. It took us two stolen cars along the interstate to get us home." Another great opening line that gets you hooked into this literary thriller from the start. The book is narrated by Frank Cassidy, "a scavenger at the edge of existence". He is married to Honey, father to a gifted child and step father to the wonderfully evil 15 year old step son, Robert Lee, you runs down Frank at every single opportunity. At the heart of the book is a mystery. In his hickville hometown, franks parents are killed when he is five. He is taken in by his uncle, where news of his death comes to Frank when he is in his late thirties, some time in the late 70s. Time periods are always referred to indirectly in this book, with the reader having to compare significant periods of american recent history (moon landings, watergate) with the events in the book. As an aside, Honeys ex husband is a convicted murderer who is waiting on death row. This casts a shadow of the book and is a constant source of conflict for Frank, as his ex wife and step son come to terms with his approaching execution. Frank, down on his luck in New York, decides to uproot the family back to his home town in the hope of receiving some sort of inheritence. The remaining family do not want him there, as is explained through several collect calls to his brother/cousin. This part of the book works very well. It plays like a road movie and captures the soulessness of motel lifes. Arriving at the town, Frank tries to piece togther the current mystery as to how his uncle died (shot, with the apparant killer next to the body - communicating with noone) and the past mystery, from which he has no memory but did get treated for mental instability. He gets a job as a security guard at the town univerity and slowly we are introduced to a number of lynch-esque cimenatic characters, including one legged encyclopedia sales men, drunken work colleagues on the fiddle and various other inhabitants of small town american life. The person who we are led to believe killed the uncle tries to kill himself in jail and enters a coma - only able to communicate with Frank through eye blinks. Investigations reveal that this is Chester Green - a man assumed dead at roughly the time of Franks parents death. Slowly the threads come together and Franks memory returns as he re-enters the house... his father and uncle hatched an insurance scam after his mother fell down the stairs and died whilst carrying Franks sibling. The father disappears and assumes chester green's identity whos body is left in the farmhouse and burnt. Complex story - but this does not distract from an excellent tale that works on many, many levels. 1st level - the constant black humour - particulary from Robert Lee. Phrases such as "I may have lost my virginity but I still have the box that it came in" and Franks incredulous exclaimanation when he found out that Honey ex husband spent his ill gotton gains on six pairs of snakeskin boots "what is he a fucking centipede" cause laugh out loud moments. 2nd Level - The book is cleverly pitched against recent American history - in similar ways that Johnathan Coe and Tim Lott have done with their books. The mundane, fashions, TV shows and so on, are also capturerd. 3rd Level - There may even be religous parallels here. But I dont know enough about religion to comment on that. 4th Level - Cinematic in feel - you could easily imagine this book being a film and it would work very well. All in all, a great success - a note this, it is a great source of other material through both booker prize nominees and liztmania. I just need to work my way through all the other books that I have.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Judi

    "I got out and put on the tire chains, and in the dark of night we moved slowly through sleeping unincorporated towns, like some phantom ghost rattling its fetters. I felt the change come over me, my past life opening up again. For me the subconcious had always been a real place, not just some nondescript darkness but that vegetative Michigan darkness, an inner darkness of shadowy meandering tributaries that led nowhere, a place where men disappeared forever, where there was no history, just a l "I got out and put on the tire chains, and in the dark of night we moved slowly through sleeping unincorporated towns, like some phantom ghost rattling its fetters. I felt the change come over me, my past life opening up again. For me the subconcious had always been a real place, not just some nondescript darkness but that vegetative Michigan darkness, an inner darkness of shadowy meandering tributaries that led nowhere, a place where men disappeared forever, where there was no history, just a limbo world of things forgotten or half remembered." "Like everything else in life, there are stories within stories." Read our review on MostlyFiction.com: http://mostlyfiction.com/mystery/coll...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I found this book in a random little bookstore on a random little island near Seattle. And I'm so glad that I did. Althoug Irish, Collins really has a pitch perfect "American voice" in this book about decisions and desperation. I'm going to quote the venerable Observer here: "Like Raymond Carver, Collins is interested in how lives of quiet desperation are lived."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robin Reese

    I love Collins' writing. It's very poetic and knolwedgeable. If you like dramatic literature, the characters and the dialogue are full of dramatic action and things you'd place in a play. I believe they're turning this novel into a scrrenplay, and I can't wait. I want to read more of his work.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cath Murphy

    More lovely observations, but Collins fails to keep the plot twist unsignalled.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jannelies

    I actually read the Dutch translation, but that edition is not on Goodreads. Alweer een Ier die zijn boeken in Amerika laat spelen. Na John Connolly nu dan Michael Collins. In elk geval staat deze overeenkomst tussen beide heren garant voor topkwaliteit. Er zijn natuurlijk ook verschillen: waar John Connolly een soms haast barokke stijl hanteert, weet Michael Collins zijn verhaal soberder, haast simpel, neer te zetten. Maar zoals ik verloren raakte in het werk van Connolly, zo raakte ik ook verlo I actually read the Dutch translation, but that edition is not on Goodreads. Alweer een Ier die zijn boeken in Amerika laat spelen. Na John Connolly nu dan Michael Collins. In elk geval staat deze overeenkomst tussen beide heren garant voor topkwaliteit. Er zijn natuurlijk ook verschillen: waar John Connolly een soms haast barokke stijl hanteert, weet Michael Collins zijn verhaal soberder, haast simpel, neer te zetten. Maar zoals ik verloren raakte in het werk van Connolly, zo raakte ik ook verloren in De wederopstandelingen. Wat mij voornamelijk raakte in dit boek (behalve het verhaal zelf) was de sfeer. De diepe treurigheid en ellende van het ´normale´ Amerikaanse bestaan. De leegheid, het gebrek aan normale emoties… Het begin al direct: op het omslag staat ´Frank en zijn gezin besluiten naar het noorden te rijden om de aanspraken van zijn neef op de erfenis te betwisten en het verleden op te rakelen.´ Klinkt simpel. Je verwacht op de een of andere manier dat die Frank rustig naar huis wandelt en tegen zijn vrouw en kinders zegt: ´Kom, pak in, we stappen in de auto en rijden naar het noorden.´ Nee dus. In de eerste alinea van het boek lezen we al dat Frank geen geld heeft voor de reis, en zelfs auto´s moet stelen om er te komen. Waardoor je dus onmiddellijk aan het denken wordt gezet: waarom heeft die man geen geld? Waarom steelt hij auto´s? Deugt die man wel? Hoe zit dat met zijn gezin? Ook op diezelfde eerste pagina meldt de hoofdpersoon al dat hij heel veel te klagen heeft over zijn vrouw, die getrouwd is geweest met een man die in de dodencel zit. Gezellig gezinnetje, denk je dan. Vergeet echter niet, de gemiddelde Amerikaan leeft echt zo. Men doet maar wat, zonder fatsoenlijke opleiding of baan. Kan je je voorstellen dat een Nederlander zomaar z´n baan opgeeft en bijvoorbeeld naar Italië rijdt en daar op een kamertje gaat wonen? Nee toch? Frank Cassidy doet echter iets dergelijks. En neemt daarbij ook nog z´n vrouw en twee jonge zoons mee. En ze vinden het redelijk normaal! In De wederopstandelingen wordt ons een heel interessant kijkje gegund in het leven van een paar mensen die welhaast echt lijken, in plaats van figuren in een boek. Helemaal jeuk kreeg ik ervan, om te lezen hoe het Frank vergaat als hij met z´n neef belt, met wie hij nota bene is opgegroeid. Het is niet dat die mensen geen emoties hebben, het is meer dat ze ze op een volkomen verkeerde manier gebruiken. Eigenlijk kan ik het niet uitleggen, mijn gevoel bij dit boek. Ik kan wel zeggen dat ik het in de spreekwoordelijke enkele adem heb uitgelezen. Ik kan ook zeggen dat het bijzonder interessant was. Spannend? Niet echt. Wel lekker broeierig, en de nieuwsgierigheid naar de afloop is er al snel. En dan vooral het enorme inzicht wat Michael Collins heeft in ´gewone´ mensen. Subliem. Onnodig om te zeggen dat het plot uitstekend in elkaar zit en dat het boek naar behoren een tamelijk verrassende afloop heeft. Hier en daar vond ik een rafeltje in de vertaling en helaas vind ik het omslag, hoewel stijlvol, wat donkertjes uitgevallen. Ik hoop echter dat dat niemand zal afschrikken het boek aan te schaffen. Ik verheug me nu al op het volgende boek van deze auteur.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Niklaus

    Quello che amo della narrativa americana è la capacità di ritrarre la vita vera senza perdersi in tante pippe intellettuali ideologiche (o nel migliore dei casi solipsiche) tanto in voga da noi. Quando poi lo scrittore che si cimenta in tale "affresco" è europeo non è raro che i risutati siano di buon livello (oltre a Collins, altro esempio è Dicker). Il personaggio principale è un uomo con una infanzia traumatizzata da un accadimento tragico (non è uno spoiler perché lo si scopre nelle prime pag Quello che amo della narrativa americana è la capacità di ritrarre la vita vera senza perdersi in tante pippe intellettuali ideologiche (o nel migliore dei casi solipsiche) tanto in voga da noi. Quando poi lo scrittore che si cimenta in tale "affresco" è europeo non è raro che i risutati siano di buon livello (oltre a Collins, altro esempio è Dicker). Il personaggio principale è un uomo con una infanzia traumatizzata da un accadimento tragico (non è uno spoiler perché lo si scopre nelle prime pagine del libro) che sembra destinato a sprofondare in una vita familiare meno che mediocre. Non troppo distante dalla categoria "white-trash". Un nuovo evento tragico lo riporterà a casa e qui inizierà qualcosa che è allo stesso tempo una discesa negli incubi del passato e una resurrezione, tanto che il lettore comincerà a porsi dubbi sulla veridicità dei suoi ricordi. Il ritorno a casa coincide anche con l'inverno nevoso tipico del nord e la monotonia delle piccole città di provincia un tempo fiorenti centri industriali e oggi assonnate e in bilico anch'esse tra precipizio e rinascita sotto altre vesti. Ambientato alla fine degli anni '70, ha il pregio di catapultarci in un epoca priva del pattume social politicamente corretto e in quello che a tutti gli effetti è stato un limbo tra la crisi politico ed economica delineata dalle presidenze da Nixon a Carter, fino al turning point di Reagan. Ed è per questo che il libro è un ritratto fedele dell'America profonda. Non di chi usa NYc come riferimento ma di chi l'ha girata con Greyhound e Amtrak. La trama procede senza sbavature e alla fine tutti i fili vengono annodati. Letto questo cercherò altri libri di Collins.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Appleby

    hmmm... I really liked the author but I felt this book read more like a draft version. Defo too much description, we're talking about a book that had a whole paragraph about pouring coffee. The main character is wayyyyyy tooo passive he literally does nothing but pick up the phone. Like I said before I really like the author, but feel he needs to find a better editor. Ps.... Santa Claus* not sure if Americans know who Father Christmas is... ;-)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre O'Flynn

    This novel is a road trip on more than one level. On reading of his uncle’s death in a newspaper, Frank drives wife Honey, stepson Robert Lee and son Ernie across America leaving New Jersey behind in a haze of road miles, stolen cars and motels. Like many road trip novels and films, the open road and hours of driving in the dark leads to introspection and Frank peels back the layers of his childhood as he nears his childhood home in Copper, Michigan. Honey is also on a journey – her ‘first love’ This novel is a road trip on more than one level. On reading of his uncle’s death in a newspaper, Frank drives wife Honey, stepson Robert Lee and son Ernie across America leaving New Jersey behind in a haze of road miles, stolen cars and motels. Like many road trip novels and films, the open road and hours of driving in the dark leads to introspection and Frank peels back the layers of his childhood as he nears his childhood home in Copper, Michigan. Honey is also on a journey – her ‘first love’ and Robert Lee’s father, Ken, is on Death Row and his execution date draws near. A shadow in all of their lives, the tension draws violence out in Honey that is directed only at Robert Lee whilst Frank and Ernie withdraw in their own ways. The plot at the core of the story – Frank’s parents burned to death; Frank moving to live with his resentful uncle, Ward; turning up now to get something – cash - from the failing farm from his cousin, Norman; Frank’s past with Norman’s wife – lays bare the complexities and silences at the heart of many families. And, then, there’s the stranger in the hospital, who waited around after shooting Ward and then tried to hang himself in jail. Who is he? Can Frank learn anything about his past – how exactly did his parents’ house burn down – and build any sort of a present from the ashes of his childhood in his childhood town. A quiet desperation permeates the novel – the struggle of just living each day as it comes and fending off the blows that life inevitably throws at them. But, just as in The Little Prince, is Copper the place to which Frank returns and where he will now finally know it, and himself, for the first time. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, it’s well worth a read for the prose, at times lyrical, at times bare, just like the countryside they pass through en route home and like the emotions laid bare as Frank’s past reveals itself.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adam Wilson

    What have we here? It seems to be a book about something, but the only memories I have are of very faintly disguised knocks against this wonderful country we live in. The country I mean is America, in case you don’t live in it. Anyway, The Resurrectionists is the only other book I have read by Collins as of May 2011, and despite have a title similar to probably forty other novels, it is worth your time. This is another “menacing mystery,” and another novel about the protagonist seeming to find h What have we here? It seems to be a book about something, but the only memories I have are of very faintly disguised knocks against this wonderful country we live in. The country I mean is America, in case you don’t live in it. Anyway, The Resurrectionists is the only other book I have read by Collins as of May 2011, and despite have a title similar to probably forty other novels, it is worth your time. This is another “menacing mystery,” and another novel about the protagonist seeming to find himself. It also contains one of those glorious moments in novels where it actually explains the title so you don’t have to finish the last page, close the book, look at the cover, and then wonder why the hell it was called that. The book also contains one of my favorite quotes in fiction. “There was a row of pumpkins in descending order, each carved with the face of an American president, or that’s what it said on this sign, but it was hard to tell one president from the next, except for one that was just a smashed pumpkin, and I guess that was JFK, after he was assassinated. Brilliant and unforgettable and the title is fun to say.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate North

    I wasn't sure when I began this that I would stick with it, as I found it a little hard to get into the voice of the main character, but actually, this quickly resolved, which is good, as I found I enjoyed the novel quite a bit (if "enjoy" is quite the right word). The blurb on the back of the book tends to approach it from a very thriller/mystery sort of perspective, and though there's some unravelling of the past -and indeed the present- to do, that's not necessarily the gist, but rather the e I wasn't sure when I began this that I would stick with it, as I found it a little hard to get into the voice of the main character, but actually, this quickly resolved, which is good, as I found I enjoyed the novel quite a bit (if "enjoy" is quite the right word). The blurb on the back of the book tends to approach it from a very thriller/mystery sort of perspective, and though there's some unravelling of the past -and indeed the present- to do, that's not necessarily the gist, but rather the exploration of Frank's life and choices and his relationships with people. Sounds like many other novels, perhaps (not necessarily a bad thing) but added interest here is created because we can't be at all sure whether to trust Frank as a narrator -and an untrustworthy narrator makes for quite an edgy sort of story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    The Resurrectionists is a complex (possibly a little too convoluted at times, I must admit) tale of Frank Cassidy and his dysfunctional family, at the centre of which lies the mystery of his parents’ death. Frank struggles to make sense of his past and come to terms with what’s happened, and the book is both psychologically astute and again a real page-turner. Small town America is here portrayed with all its faults but not without its redeeming features, and the reader is soon drawn into the li The Resurrectionists is a complex (possibly a little too convoluted at times, I must admit) tale of Frank Cassidy and his dysfunctional family, at the centre of which lies the mystery of his parents’ death. Frank struggles to make sense of his past and come to terms with what’s happened, and the book is both psychologically astute and again a real page-turner. Small town America is here portrayed with all its faults but not without its redeeming features, and the reader is soon drawn into the lives of people who have the odds stacked against them from the start but try to do their best with the cards they have been dealt..

  14. 5 out of 5

    Russell George

    Read three quarters of this and stopped because none of it rang true. The characters, the story and the voice all constantly seemed to remind me that I was ‘reading a novel’. It felt, too, that the author was constantly trying to impress upon me that he was a good writer, but he was trying far too hard. It's damning that I really don’t care how it ended, and couldn’t wait to start something else. Yes, I didn't like it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melani

    Collins tells a suspenseful and rich tale, and tells it well. He doesn't judge, fetishize or even stand at a distance from his characters when they beat their children and terrorize strangers in desperate moments. He is also quite skilled in creating a mood and setting, and I'm not typically one to note such things (unless they are contrived to the point of distraction). One note: The beginning is not very engaging, but it picks up soon after.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Graff

    I suppose its telling that in trying to write this review, I had to look online for a summary to remember what it was about. I enjoyed this book as a crime novel but I didn't find that it stuck with me, obviously. And as far as a crime novel goes, it wasn't as much of a page-turner as others, although I don't think it was intended to be that kind of crime novel. I remember this being a fine read but I wouldn't necessarily seek out the author again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leaf

    Prose is high caliber--lyrical without being overheated--and the premise and characters are conceptually intriguing. But the presentation of the characters and the personal conflicts that are meant to drive the novel are inside out. Everything important that we learn about the character's internal world we get handed directly and immediately. Too much show and not enough tell.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Just loved this novel, such a riveting use of dialogue and a fine sense of place. Frank and Honey are part of the working poor, but launch on a road trip in a stolen car to try to gain a part of his uncle's inheritance and to solve two family mysteries. I came to know and love these characters over the 360 pages, a page turner but also a biting commentary on American society and a damn fine read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim Gray

    I can't fault the writing, it's good. The plot is clever, and the characters well realized. But I struggled with this book, not a page turner for me. And by the time I got to the end, I thought it was clever, but I just wasn't that interested any more!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bachyboy

    I can see why this was shortlisted for the Booker. I am not usually a fan of small town America books but this is very well written. Frank's parents die in a house fire when he is five and this is a book about Frank's search for the truth. Worth reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    current status : chapter 5. full stop (for this time being). is now on my watch list of to-read AGAIN.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Prose as sharp as an ice pick to the prefrontal cortex, haunting and hard to put down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bill Alexander

    Boooooo

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tomasz

    Wow!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Soul Survivor

    A bit confusing in characters and plot ; I'd recommend reading The Resurrectionist (singular) instead

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marnie

    Sparse, difficult, painful...but worth it in the end.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jane Brant

    Very unusual, but I did not like it as well as The Keepers of Truth.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meenal Javed

    Loved this "atmosphere" of this book. Great book to read on a chilly winter night with a cup of coffee.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    A bit too many plot points, and certainly too plodding to be called a thriller or even a mystery. It was slow going but relatively enjoyable.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

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