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The Resurrectionist PDF, ePub eBook The Resurrectionist is a wild ride into a territory where nothing is as it appears. Part classic noir thriller, part fabulist fable, it is the story of Sweeney and his comatose son, Danny. Hoping for a miracle, Sweeney has brought Danny to the fortresslike Peck Clinic, whose doctors claim to have "resurrected" patients who were similarly lost in the void. but the real cure for his son's The Resurrectionist is a wild ride into a territory where nothing is as it appears. Part classic noir thriller, part fabulist fable, it is the story of Sweeney and his comatose son, Danny. Hoping for a miracle, Sweeney has brought Danny to the fortresslike Peck Clinic, whose doctors claim to have "resurrected" patients who were similarly lost in the void. but the real cure for his son's condition may lie in Limbo, a comic book world beloved by Danny before he slipped into a coma. O'Connell has crafted a spellbinding novel about stories and what they can do for and to those who create them and those who consume them. About the nature of consciousness and the power of the unknown. And, ultimately, about forgiveness and the depth of our need to extend it and receive it.

30 review for The Resurrectionist

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) As some of you already know, I have been a twenty-year fan and student now of the related 20th-century art movements Dadaism and Surrealism, ever since first getting exposed to them as an undergraduate in the '80s, and in fact is the closest I arguably come to being legitimately "scholarly (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) As some of you already know, I have been a twenty-year fan and student now of the related 20th-century art movements Dadaism and Surrealism, ever since first getting exposed to them as an undergraduate in the '80s, and in fact is the closest I arguably come to being legitimately "scholarly" on any topic, in terms of the amount of knowledge I have about the movements. And as I've talked about here before (most famously during my review of the DVD compilation The Short Films of David Lynch), one of the things I've learned through such study is that what we in the general culture think of these days as "Surrealist" is a far cry from how the original Surrealists defined it; because when these original cutting-edge artists of the 1910s, '20s and '30s, the ones being equally defined by the new fields of Modernism and Freudian psychoanalysis, declared that they were trying to "capture the essence of a dream" in their artistic work, they actually meant that they were trying to capture the elusive pattern and rhythm of a dream itself, the simultaneous logic and illogic that within a dream we so easily accept, that is so hard for us to accept when in a conscious state. As the decades have progressed, though, as early Modernism turned into late Modernism, Pop Art, and finally Postmodernism, the entire concept of Surrealism has been sorta co-opted by the advertising industry and Hollywood, to now mostly mean "Hey, look! Weird sh-t!" What this means, then, is that there's actually two kinds of Surrealism out there now, and with discerning fans being able to tell the difference immediately: there is the pure, old-school Surrealism of the original movement, authors like Haruki Murakami and David Mitchell, who construct elaborate experiments in actually reproducing the logic and emotions of a dreamlike state; and then there is the cartoonish, Hollywoodized version of Surrealism, where an author simply writes about strange crap, hoping that the distraction of the crap itself will hide the fact that there's nothing really compelling behind it. And which of these, I hear you asking, best describes the book under review today, the 2008 cult hit and so-called contemporary Surrealist tale The Resurrectionist by Jack O'Connell? Well, I won't keep you in suspense anymore; it's the second, the second, oh Lord it's the second, an infinitely frustrating collection of random unexplained weird horsesh-t whipped at the reader's face at breakneck speed, none of it making any sense and none of it connecting to the other weird random parts, basically the equivalent of handing a person a box full of Christmas ornaments and yelling, "Shake it! It's pretty! Shake it! It's pretty!" That might be, but it certainly doesn't make it good literature, nor does it make it an accurate reflection of what a dream is actually like; and that's the difference between someone like O'Connell and an actual Surrealist, because O'Connell ultimately hopes that you'll be distracted by the shiny ornaments being shaken about, and not notice that there's no actual tree. In fact, O'Connell starts throwing out the random crap early and quick in The Resurrectionist; it is the story of sad-sack pharmacist Sweeney, caretaker of a son named Danny who is in a persistent coma, through an accident he still silently blames on his ex-wife. His life a shambles, dealing unsuccessfully with anger issues, Sweeney has been lured to a little town called Quinsigamond in order to work for the mysterious private Peck Clinic, mostly as a way of getting his son accepted into their secretive yet widely admired coma-care program. But see, right here is where O'Connell already starts going wrong with this story, by making even the details of the clinic itself inconsistent; although our story is set in the modern world, for some reason the nurses all have old-fashioned '50s uniforms, out there at the forbidding Victorian mansion in the middle of nowhere that serves as the clinic's campus. Plus, for this being a bizarre, private, family-funded organization, one that doesn't share its results or even have a clear mission, the entire rest of the contemporary medical community seems to be big-enough fans; this is what took Sweeney out there in the first place, after all, is from having his boring ol' "real-world" doctors in Ohio recommend the clinic to him, despite the clinic itself literally being like something ripped out of an old Frankenstein movie. Now, fans will say that this is exactly how it should be, that The Resurrectionist is supposed to be filled with weird crap that makes no sense because that's what Surrealism is; but that's not what Surrealism is, at least how the original Surrealists who came up with the term defined it. Actual Surrealism is supposed to make sense, just the kind of twisted, illogical sense that we can only accept while in a dream state; the details of the environment, though, for just one good example, are supposed to actually relate to each other within a Surrealist tale, not just exist in their own hermetically weird states alongside all the other bizarre details. And that's exactly how this book feels, especially the further you get into it, that O'Connell simply wrote down a bunch of random stuff that popped into his head and sounded "weird" to him, without bothering to relate any of it to each other or even adhere to the most basic precepts of those concepts. Like, one of the running ideas in The Ressurectionist is that Danny had been a big fan of this giant children's media empire called "Limbo," consisting of a hit TV show and action figures and merchandise and a long-running comic book, and O'Connell even includes a number of issues of the comic in the actual manuscript of the book; but why call it a comic, I wonder, when they're actually fully narrative short stories? And what hit children's TV show in the 2000s is possibly going to be about a group of eastern European circus freaks in the 1920s, who wander aimlessly through a fictional foreign land named after the Yiddish word for Hell, living a bleak and torture-filled life and spouting existentialist dialogue more appropriate for a Beckett play than any Japanimation children's show in existence? Sure, it's weird and random, I'll give you that; but if all I want is weird and random, I can sit at home whenever I want, flipping through television channels and watching two seconds at a time of each, for two or three hours in a row. Like so much of The Resurrectionist, that too is weird and random; and like so much of The Resurrectionist, that too is not nearly what I'd call an entertaining artistic experience. What I want from a Surrealist project is a world that almost makes complete sense, but with just a whiff of strangeness around its corners, a fleeting glimpse of something moving just on the edge of my vision. What I want from a Surrealist project is something that makes me feel the way I do when I'm actually dreaming, a moment for example where a friend flaps his arms in the middle of a conversation and flies away, and I don't even think twice about it; what I don't want is a collection of random details that all draw undue attention to themselves, each of them standing in the corner of the room and waving their arms and screaming, "Look at me! Look at me! I'M WEIRD!" And unfortunately, that's mostly what The Resurrectionist consists of, with certainly there not being a compelling story holding it all together, nor compelling characters, nor even a consistent personal style. In fact, here's the simple insulting truth of the matter; that by the time I had reached the end, I cared about the story and was invested in the characters so little that I didn't even bother reading the last ten pages, simply because I could no longer even follow whatever the hell was going on with the castle and the devil and the chicken-boy or whatever the f-ck it all was. And that's a terrible, terrible thing to say about a novel -- that after reading 300 pages of it, you didn't care enough to bother with what's supposed to be the most important ten pages of all -- and I think says more about my opinion of this book than probably anything else I might be tempted to write. (And I'm tempted to write a whole lot more about just how frustrated this book made me, starting with the fact that the entire town of Quinsigamond made no sense whatsoever. Is it...in the cyberpunk future? No, wait, our story's set in the modern day; so why is there this whole district made up of fully-stocked warehouses that were all abandoned at a moment's notice for no explainable reason, that have all been illegally turned into "world of tomorrow" neon-covered homemade pubs? And what's with the cartoonishly evil bikers? And why do they all keep saying "Bangkok" when referring to the city? UGH, THIS F-CKING BOOK!) In fact, you know what? I think I'm just going to cut my losses at this point, stop writing this review, and just walk away from the entire trainwreck known as The Resurrectionist for good. See you later. Out of 10: Story: 0.9 Characters: 1.4 Style: 6.6 Overall: 2.7

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    well, i am not really sure what the hell this was about. I think it was a very strange story,... it involves a lot of suspension of disbelief, there are a lot of characters that seem important that never flesh out, there's a few hairy instances that turn into nothing. I don't think i got it. I would have given it a two-star review but there was enough good writing and creativity in it to merit a three-star review, but i will not be recommending this book to anyone ever...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    This book reminded me of a Stephen King novel, not because it was scary, but because the ending was SO weak. Just like King, this guy wrote an absorbing novel with interesting characters, an intriguing mystery, but a super crap ending. It seemed like he just didn't know how to end it, which really sucked, because I couldn't put it down for the most part. There were other problems that seemed to crop up around page 225 now that I think about it: the use of the serum by the (stereotypical) bikers This book reminded me of a Stephen King novel, not because it was scary, but because the ending was SO weak. Just like King, this guy wrote an absorbing novel with interesting characters, an intriguing mystery, but a super crap ending. It seemed like he just didn't know how to end it, which really sucked, because I couldn't put it down for the most part. There were other problems that seemed to crop up around page 225 now that I think about it: the use of the serum by the (stereotypical) bikers and what it did (took the story from realism to pseudo-fantasy); a nagging belief that certain characters who had received a lot of focus before would be forgotten (Alice?), and my wondering about what the point of Spider's chapter was. This book would have been a lot better if it had 100 more pages and the supporting characters were flushed out. Some characters, like Alice, just seemed to drop out of the picture after an intriguing back story had been created for them and others, like Nadia, were never really explained. I guess my biggest problem with this novel was that the prose was so well done that I didn't notice all the major flaws with the plot and characters until I finished it. And now I feel tricked! Treachery! The freak side-story was well-worth my retrospective annoyance though, and it's a pity that the author couldn't have crafted it into a novel of its own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Juhl

    I can describe this story succinctly; a shambles. If there was an plotline, it might have benefitted the reader if the author had actually provided it. Some might argue the style is surreal and the reader has to suspend belief. Dream sequences and comic book realities are fine tools to use in storytelling, but they must be hung on something if they are to be bought by the reader. Characters are built up only to never be heard from again, a bit of foreshadowing is cast only I can describe this story succinctly; a shambles. If there was an plotline, it might have benefitted the reader if the author had actually provided it. Some might argue the style is surreal and the reader has to suspend belief. Dream sequences and comic book realities are fine tools to use in storytelling, but they must be hung on something if they are to be bought by the reader. Characters are built up only to never be heard from again, a bit of foreshadowing is cast only to be left adrift in the void of dropped threads. The only salvageable component in this novel were the chapters about a troupe of circus freaks on the run from a horrific crime they didn't commit. The author should have stayed with this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bill Braine

    Every parent's worst nightmare. Literally, figuratively, and everything in between. Not badly told (and I got used to the reader on the audio CD fairly quickly -- he handled a lot of voices well), but for what purpose? I've read The Magus, the Shining, and, more recently, The Keep, and they covered similar ground (the nature of consciousness and reality, gothic and/or classical horror, Dads running around yelling "Danny!") but with a bit more payoff. Early on I asked another reader if there was Every parent's worst nightmare. Literally, figuratively, and everything in between. Not badly told (and I got used to the reader on the audio CD fairly quickly -- he handled a lot of voices well), but for what purpose? I've read The Magus, the Shining, and, more recently, The Keep, and they covered similar ground (the nature of consciousness and reality, gothic and/or classical horror, Dads running around yelling "Danny!") but with a bit more payoff. Early on I asked another reader if there was going to be a payoff and was assured there was -- only to find out that this other reader was hoping I'd be able to translate the unsatisfactory ending. Sneaky. I hope that's not a spoiler.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Jones

    I am a big fan of Jack O'Connell, and I usually love his books. I liked this one, but didn't love it, probably because its emotional center is a father/son relationship. That said, I still think O'Connell has one of the best twisted imaginations out there right now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Rated R for language. Strange story. I couldn't get past the fact that a 6 year old was allowed to read a "comic book" that had such strange characters and language.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    This book came to me used, along with a bundle of promotional material dating from the book's original release, tucked inside the dust jacket. I'd already read and admired O'Connell's Word Made Flesh, and read this one earlier in a library edition, so I made haste to snatch this copy up from the table where it was languishing. The Resurrectionist is a very different book, though, This book came to me used, along with a bundle of promotional material dating from the book's original release, tucked inside the dust jacket. I'd already read and admired O'Connell's Word Made Flesh, and read this one earlier in a library edition, so I made haste to snatch this copy up from the table where it was languishing. The Resurrectionist is a very different book, though, from Word Made Flesh, despite being set in (or rather near) the same old New World city of Quinsigamond that figures so prominently in that earlier novel that it's almost another character, and despite the reappearance of the Old World city of Maisel in Old Bohemia, whose ghosts inhabited Word Made Flesh, and which here is the setting for the comic book-within-the-book, Daniel's favorite story, Limbo. Daniel Sweeney, that is. He and his father are the central characters here, despite Danny being in a coma, uncommunicative and bedridden, as he has been for quite some time following an accidental head trauma. The elder Sweeney (I don't think we ever find out his first name) is a pharmacist and a widower; his wife Kerry killed herself a year or so after Danny failed to wake up from "the incident." So Danny and Sweeney have moved from Cleveland, Ohio to the Peck Clinic in the rusty American Northeast, somewhere outside the decaying city of Quinsigamond, because Dr. Peck is—or may be—a miracle worker, a literal resurrectionist. He has roused two patients from extended comas; Sweeney hopes that Daniel will be the third. And Sweeney is lucky; the Peck Clinic needs a pharmacist anyway. But the Peck itself turns out to be an isolated, macabre pile of Victorian architecture, more like a haunted house than a medical facility. The staff are oddly confrontational and reclusive, their professionalism questionable. The Doctors Peck—father W. Micah and daughter Alice—often seem more like mad scientists than like the sober researchers Sweeney heard about while he was back in Cleveland. Both Dr. Alice Peck and the darkly beautiful nurse Nadia Rey seem to be interested in Sweeney as more than just a new coworker. And Sweeney himself feels unstable, prone to sudden rage, constantly questioning his own behavior and that of the people around him, while remaining fiercely loyal to Danny and ready to take umbrage at the slightest... slight. And then there's the motorcycle gang—the Abominations—who've taken over the abandoned Harmony Prosthetics factory at the edge of town. It's hard to tell where they fit into things. And speaking of people who have a hard time fitting in: what, exactly, do the circus freaks (O'Connell's word) who inhabit the world of Limbo, Danny's favorite books, have to contribute to the story? Their own picaresque tale, vividly described in chapters set off by both typeface and language from the ones Sweeney himself inhabits, seems to have little to do with Danny's plight, at least at first... but you know it has to fit in somewhere. (It seems appropriate to mention here that one of the authors who contributed a glowing blurb to this book is Katherine Dunn, whose own Geek Love has garnered much praise and admiration, including my own.) In my opinion, this book doesn't quite rise to the level of surreal intensity achieved by Word Made Flesh... but it does come pretty close. Despite the mundane trappings Sweeney brings from Cleveland, Ohio—the Honda Accord that belches black smoke, primarily—the isolated environment of the Peck contributes to a feeling of dislocation that echoes Sweeney's own unsettled mind. And the stories of Limbo and of Daniel Sweeney do eventually begin to intersect, as an astute reader might hope and fear they might. The resurrection Sweeney is after, the resurrection Dr. Peck plans for Danny, end up seeming less important than Sweeney's own choices, his own decisions about his son's fate, and his own resurrection. The Resurrectionist may not be quite the work Word Made Flesh was, but I think it'll end up (sorry, I can't resist) getting a rise out of you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daelene

    So disappointed. I think I understand where the author was going with the storyline but failed miserably.

  10. 5 out of 5

    BRT

    Not exactly sure what I just read. At first glance, it appeared to be a story of a man whose son is in a coma. They are trying a new clinic, which has had minimal success in re-awakening coma patients. Tying the father & son together is a comic series that the son enjoyed called Limbo. The story of the father & son is interspersed with the story of Limbo. Both stories have promise, although the Limbo story-line is more engaging, if almost grotesque. Then the whole thing just gets weirdly Not exactly sure what I just read. At first glance, it appeared to be a story of a man whose son is in a coma. They are trying a new clinic, which has had minimal success in re-awakening coma patients. Tying the father & son together is a comic series that the son enjoyed called Limbo. The story of the father & son is interspersed with the story of Limbo. Both stories have promise, although the Limbo story-line is more engaging, if almost grotesque. Then the whole thing just gets weirdly confusing, which would have been OK if there was a more stable ending. Unfortunately, the story just seems to go all Hunter S. Thompson on you and they all ride off into a drug induced sunset.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah B.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Wow, I wish I could sit down and write a review as good as Jason Pettus's! Interestingly, I had a slightly different experience: I skimmed most of the book and really only focused on the last three chapters -- which is, as far as I can tell, the only part where anything interesting happened. After foraging into the first "comic book" section of the novel, I abandoned these altogether and decided to read just the main plot. Although I love a good Wonder Woman as much as the next girl, I lacked Wow, I wish I could sit down and write a review as good as Jason Pettus's! Interestingly, I had a slightly different experience: I skimmed most of the book and really only focused on the last three chapters -- which is, as far as I can tell, the only part where anything interesting happened. After foraging into the first "comic book" section of the novel, I abandoned these altogether and decided to read just the main plot. Although I love a good Wonder Woman as much as the next girl, I lacked the patience necessary for whatever kind of "graphic novel" O'Connell was working into an adjacent (possibly connected, who knows) plot of the book. So I never answered the koan-like question that the book inadvertently poses: What is the point of a graphic novel without artwork? Just the idea of a graphic novel isn't -- to me -- inherently cool enough to make that much unrelated reading worth my time. The main plot was boring and brutal right up to the resolution, when it turned sweet and kind of sappy but at least satisfying. I wished I could have liked the characters more so that I could care what happened to them, but mostly I found them dull or sickening. Nadia, in particular, was repulsive. Of course the reader could guess that she was the "true" leader of the biker gang by about halfway through the book, but the idea of a stunningly beautiful woman controlling a dangerous and anarchic group of misfit bikers by having sex with all of them made me want to gag. What is O'Connell, a fifteen year old highschool student writing for his own private pleasure? Did he draw sketches of her busting out of her black leather bodices in the margins of his drafts? Oh, Nadia, you are a cliché from the mind of a man who doesn't give a shit about believable female characters. Overall, the book disappointed. I liked the relationship between the father and the son, but it wasn't compelling enough to make me glad I dragged through all 300 pages (minus the comic book parts). The book aspires to discuss the nature of consciousness and where it resides, but fails. There's nothing here that you couldn't get by watching "Brazil" again. Skip it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    fo jammi

    A jagged joyride to the limit of compassion, and a chilling intimation of the realities hiding in our subconscious minds, the incredibly readable Jack O'Connell does it again. By "it" I mean (seemingly) effortlessly dashing off another poetical noir masterpiece set in his Quinsigamond universe, a place uncomfortably close to our daily reality, yet somehow sung in a clearer, and still darker melotony, and in the end leaving his audience aching for more. You may pick up anything he has written wit A jagged joyride to the limit of compassion, and a chilling intimation of the realities hiding in our subconscious minds, the incredibly readable Jack O'Connell does it again. By "it" I mean (seemingly) effortlessly dashing off another poetical noir masterpiece set in his Quinsigamond universe, a place uncomfortably close to our daily reality, yet somehow sung in a clearer, and still darker melotony, and in the end leaving his audience aching for more. You may pick up anything he has written with the confidence that it will be original, startling, and beautiful. There's just not enough of it around. He writes with the crystalline sharpness of a young Bradbury describing the intoxications and terrors of an uncertain fate, with the biting pain of cold air on newborn flesh, and the exuberance of the attending doctor's slap on the ass. This tale concerns a young boy who has gone into a coma, and his father's attempts to bring him back. There is a visionary, troubled surgeon who offers hope, a David Lynchesque biker gang that enters the fray in a surreal bid for the boy's soul, and a troupe of exquisitely tortured circus freaks on the run through what the reader can only assume is an interior reality within the boy's subconscious. Which may not be the case at all. There are no glib correspondences in this world, just the high-pitched scraping of exposed nerves boring into the mundane and turning it into diamonds and dust.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maciek

    I don't generally abandon books (though Pride and Prejudice and Zombies escaped by a hair), but I was compelled to make an exception here. The prose, when it occasionally manages to rise above hackneyed, is awkward and contrived; the characters are two-dimensional; and, from what my wife told me, the plot quickly dissolves into a mess of incohesive improbabilities. I wanted to like it because the Limbo story-within-a-story reminded me of the wonderful Geek Love and the cover of Carter Beats the Devil, but six ch I don't generally abandon books (though Pride and Prejudice and Zombies escaped by a hair), but I was compelled to make an exception here. The prose, when it occasionally manages to rise above hackneyed, is awkward and contrived; the characters are two-dimensional; and, from what my wife told me, the plot quickly dissolves into a mess of incohesive improbabilities. I wanted to like it because the Limbo story-within-a-story reminded me of the wonderful Geek Love and the cover of Carter Beats the Devil, but six chapters in, I decided to cut my losses.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bookmarks Magazine

    Although it has its strengths, The Resurrectionist is not for everyone. The novel slips imperfectly between grim reality and dark fantasy, and for some critics, the intense drama, imaginative scenery, and significant themes did not overcome frustrating structural difficulties. O'Connell has embedded a touching father-son story within the work; however, to reach this dramatic core, the reader must be patient and willing to overlook the novel's difficult framework. Still, critics praised many of the book's secti Although it has its strengths, The Resurrectionist is not for everyone. The novel slips imperfectly between grim reality and dark fantasy, and for some critics, the intense drama, imaginative scenery, and significant themes did not overcome frustrating structural difficulties. O'Connell has embedded a touching father-son story within the work; however, to reach this dramatic core, the reader must be patient and willing to overlook the novel's difficult framework. Still, critics praised many of the book's sections, including the compellingly written Limbo sections. Despite these weaknesses, aficionados of dark and surreal fiction will enjoy the bumpy ride into Quinsigamond; other readers may want to steer clearThis is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  15. 4 out of 5

    G. Brown

    "Part classic noir thriller, part mind-bending fantasy, The Resurrectionist is a wild ride into a territory where nothing is as it appears." The back of the book description is pretty deceptive. There's nothing noir about this, nor is it mind-bending. It's odd, pretty engaging in the beginning, and the side story from the comic about the freaks is pretty dang cool. Unfortunately, none of these cool facets lead anywhere, characters and secondary plots just drop away into nothing and it "Part classic noir thriller, part mind-bending fantasy, The Resurrectionist is a wild ride into a territory where nothing is as it appears." The back of the book description is pretty deceptive. There's nothing noir about this, nor is it mind-bending. It's odd, pretty engaging in the beginning, and the side story from the comic about the freaks is pretty dang cool. Unfortunately, none of these cool facets lead anywhere, characters and secondary plots just drop away into nothing and it turns into an A#1 cheesefest. Jack O'Connell can write; there just wasn't a story here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    Holy Crap!! I'm sorry that I forget who recommended this book to me, but, whoever did...Thank You!! Now this is where I'm supposed to say: "This book is a combination of [Author A} & [Author B:]" but I won't. This book is about forgiveness of yourself, comas, a comic written by the The Love Child of Warren Ellis & Alan Moore (Oh shit! I just mentioned an Author A & an Author B! Fuckin' sue me.). I found myself waking up an hour or two before my alarm went off so I could read one more Holy Crap!! I'm sorry that I forget who recommended this book to me, but, whoever did...Thank You!! Now this is where I'm supposed to say: "This book is a combination of [Author A} & [Author B:]" but I won't. This book is about forgiveness of yourself, comas, a comic written by the The Love Child of Warren Ellis & Alan Moore (Oh shit! I just mentioned an Author A & an Author B! Fuckin' sue me.). I found myself waking up an hour or two before my alarm went off so I could read one more chapter. Now read it and tell me your story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Krok Zero

    I read an interview with James Ellroy where he admitted that he doesn't actually read most of the books that carry his blurbs. That's probably the case here because this holy mess ain't worthy of Ellroy's praise. If O'Connell had hooked up with a comic book artist and done the "Limbo" chapters as little shortform comics within the novel, rather than just describing what happens in the comics with regular prose, then he might've had something. As it is, the book is ambitious and fitfully compelli I read an interview with James Ellroy where he admitted that he doesn't actually read most of the books that carry his blurbs. That's probably the case here because this holy mess ain't worthy of Ellroy's praise. If O'Connell had hooked up with a comic book artist and done the "Limbo" chapters as little shortform comics within the novel, rather than just describing what happens in the comics with regular prose, then he might've had something. As it is, the book is ambitious and fitfully compelling, but never connects its various ideas into something coherent or tangible.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I hated this book. I do admit the author has a spectacular imagination but that's all I admit. Why two characters with the same name? What happened to the circus resurrectionist? What happened in the end? I guess I am too concrete in my thinking. This just made me feel bad throughout. How do you enjoy a book full of bad luck and terrible acts from the hands of other people? Yuck. I have never read Jack O'Connell before and I am so disappointed in this effort.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    The imagination that went into this book is staggering. I very much enjoyed the exploration of consciousness/unconsciousness, the blurring of the "real" and the "fantastic," and the examination of "abominations." That said, some of the novel's foreshadowing was too transparent (if I pick up on it, it's incredibly evident), and the violence, especially near the end, turned my stomach. All in all, though, I'm glad that I read the book, and I'll be looking for more by O'Connell.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    Another book that I checked out on reviews/award news with the hope that it will be one of the rare ones of its kind that will appeal to me; and it wasn't, just nothing in there to excite me So try it, since I guess if you like the noir psychological thriller with a touch of the fantastic - which as mentioned I rarely do - it may be for you; for me it did not transcend its genre so not of real interest

  21. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I've got to mull this one over some more. Very weird premise of a father trying to connect to his comatose son through the fantasy world of his favorite comic. I wanted to love it, and I did enjoy the noir/fantasy mash-up aspects, but there were places were it didn't seem as fully realized a concept as it could have been. Still, pretty cool.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    It started out good and weird - and I'm a sucker for circus freaks. About 3/4 of the way through it got really trippy, and I was like "Circus freaks rule! Bikers rule!" And then the last page transformed every ounce of weirdness into saccharine treacle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    The Resurrectionist sounds more interesting than it really is. I suppose this book proves it's possible for a story to be so odd that it fails as fantasy, while being so fundamentally this-worldly that it also fails as fantasy. Just move along; nothing to see here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claire Vogel

    it was ok. nothing too special. an interesting way to tell a story though. a mix of fanatsy/comic book fiction and real life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Wright

    I enjoyed this very strange but compelling read, my first of O'Connell's fiction. The novel follows four story lines: Sweeney and his comatose son Danny; Drs. Micah and Alice Peck, the father-daughter physicians who run the clinic where Sweeney has brought his son; a motorcycle gang, the Abominations, led by a nurse at the clinic; and Limbo, the comic book land of freaks that snakes in and out of the other story lines. If you want something different, ignore the negative reviews here and take th I enjoyed this very strange but compelling read, my first of O'Connell's fiction. The novel follows four story lines: Sweeney and his comatose son Danny; Drs. Micah and Alice Peck, the father-daughter physicians who run the clinic where Sweeney has brought his son; a motorcycle gang, the Abominations, led by a nurse at the clinic; and Limbo, the comic book land of freaks that snakes in and out of the other story lines. If you want something different, ignore the negative reviews here and take this literary ride!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

    This book was a little too strange for me. At first, it really grabbed my interest and I couldn’t stop reading it. But as I reached the final third of the book, I couldn’t wait to be done with the story. Though I liked the messages about forgiveness, and particularly self- forgiveness, the worlds in this book were just too weird for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    reviewers copy In The Resurrectionist, we meet Sweeney - our main character, if I were to pick ONE and label him as such. I see him as the wheel around which this novel turns. Sweeney's son Danny has been in a coma for over a year, and they have just relocated to The Clinic - where Dr. Peck has successfully aroused 2 comatose patients. O'Connell withholds information from us - the reader - information we desire to know. Which, quite frankly, kept me glued to this book. Ther reviewers copy In The Resurrectionist, we meet Sweeney - our main character, if I were to pick ONE and label him as such. I see him as the wheel around which this novel turns. Sweeney's son Danny has been in a coma for over a year, and they have just relocated to The Clinic - where Dr. Peck has successfully aroused 2 comatose patients. O'Connell withholds information from us - the reader - information we desire to know. Which, quite frankly, kept me glued to this book. There are subtle and shrouded comments made about Danny's accident, yet it isn't clear to us what the actual accident was. We are informed that Danny's mother killed herself, unable to live with the guilt of Danny's condition, but we have no idea why she should have felt so guilty. And we learn that Sweeney can't be left alone with his thoughts, which can quickly plummett him into fits of rage, aggression, and depression. As we chase after Sweeney, we are introduced to the comic book LIMBO and it's cast of circus freaks, which, according to all the paraphanlia that covers and litters Danny's room, has exploded into a preteen Amercian phenomenon. It's Danny's favorite thing in the whole world, and his father gets sucked into it for him, laying next to him in his hospital bed, reading the comics, hoping his son is listening. Each issue of the LIMBO comic is designated its own separate chapter (strategically placed throughout the novel) in which we follow Chicken Boy, Aziz, Bruno, and a handful of other freaks through their trials and tribulations - which, strangely enough, seem to mirror those of Sweeney in the real world. Parellels can be made between the group of misfit junkie bikers - all named after animals due to their personalities or physical resemblance to it - that Sweeney gets mixed up with, and the circus freaks from the LIMBO comics. Even deeper than the loose connections between characters, O'Connell messes with the hearts of all parents by forcing you to look inward: What would you do for your child? How far would you be willing to go, what things would you put yourself and your child through, if you thought it meant they could be returned to you... pulled out of the limbo-land they are inhabiting, withdrawn from our world? Or would you try to put yourself in their world? At what point do you take the plunge? Could you let go and make the leap if it meant trusting someone, or worse, not knowing? I would think this goes without saying, but we do eventually discover what happened between Danny and his mother the day of his accident, we do get closure on the cast of circus freaks from the LIMBO comics... but will Sweeney and Danny get the closure they deserve? Read the book, my fellow followers. Read the book, and you tell me!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Allan

    Ultimately this book has been engineered to be a good, quick read and little more: there is no there there. I found it gripping and yet a great disappointment. So many plot elements are left unresolved, story threads abandoned and characters undeveloped (including the fate of the title character).[return][return]The story of Sweeney, a pushed-to-the-edge pharmacist and his comatose son Danny and their journey to The Peck Clinic for better care and the possibility of an awakening is woven in with Ultimately this book has been engineered to be a good, quick read and little more: there is no there there. I found it gripping and yet a great disappointment. So many plot elements are left unresolved, story threads abandoned and characters undeveloped (including the fate of the title character).[return][return]The story of Sweeney, a pushed-to-the-edge pharmacist and his comatose son Danny and their journey to The Peck Clinic for better care and the possibility of an awakening is woven in with the comic book tale of Limbo and the quest of a band of circus freaks to find safe haven. An additional thread follows the Abominations, a biker gang with an agenda. [return][return]Violence is graphic and yet improbable. Pirates are vicious but inept; bikers, stereotypically dumb as a post (unless they’re introspective chemists or moody leaders) and freaks are torn from the sideshow posters that we all grew up with. The twilight zone of the Peck Clinic feels as though it exists in a perpetual late night shift. For such a world famous institution, they felt woefully understaffed.[return][return]The world of Limbo as described in the book is nothing a responsible father would allow his six year old son to become obsessed over, much less paper his life with. I kept thinking the world of Chicken Little would be a more probable (and frightening) story for a young child than the ensemble gathered around Chicken Boy. A likelier possibility might have been to make Danny a teenager.[return][return]The Resurrectionist is the only book by O’Connell that I’ve read, but there’s been such positive notice for his earlier work that I intend to pick one up and hope that the failures of this book were an aberration.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Allan

    Ultimately this book has been engineered to be a good, quick read and little more: there is no there there. I found it gripping and yet a great disappointment. So many plot elements are left unresolved, story threads abandoned and characters undeveloped (including the fate of the title character).[return][return]The story of Sweeney, a pushed-to-the-edge pharmacist and his comatose son Danny and their journey to The Peck Clinic for better care and the possibility of an awakening is woven in with Ultimately this book has been engineered to be a good, quick read and little more: there is no there there. I found it gripping and yet a great disappointment. So many plot elements are left unresolved, story threads abandoned and characters undeveloped (including the fate of the title character).[return][return]The story of Sweeney, a pushed-to-the-edge pharmacist and his comatose son Danny and their journey to The Peck Clinic for better care and the possibility of an awakening is woven in with the comic book tale of Limbo and the quest of a band of circus freaks to find safe haven. An additional thread follows the Abominations, a biker gang with an agenda. [return][return]Violence is graphic and yet improbable. Pirates are vicious but inept; bikers, stereotypically dumb as a post (unless they re introspective chemists or moody leaders) and freaks are torn from the sideshow posters that we all grew up with. The twilight zone of the Peck Clinic feels as though it exists in a perpetual late night shift. For such a world famous institution, they felt woefully understaffed.[return][return]The world of Limbo as described in the book is nothing a responsible father would allow his six year old son to become obsessed over, much less paper his life with. I kept thinking the world of Chicken Little would be a more probable (and frightening) story for a young child than the ensemble gathered around Chicken Boy. A likelier possibility might have been to make Danny a teenager.[return][return]The Resurrectionist is the only book by O Connell that I ve read, but there s been such positive notice for his earlier work that I intend to pick one up and hope that the failures of this book were an aberration.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brendan

    The Resurrectionist oscillates unexpectedly, keeping its reader off balance. Among the stories told are those of Sweeney, a pharmacist whose son is in a long-term coma, a group of freaks at the center of a wildly popular comic book empire, a doctor bent on performing bleeding edge experiments on the patients in his care, and a psychotic group of bikers who're half Hell's Angels, half support group. O'Connell writes in a crisp voice, with great pacing and descriptions. Especially evocative are the sequences fro The Resurrectionist oscillates unexpectedly, keeping its reader off balance. Among the stories told are those of Sweeney, a pharmacist whose son is in a long-term coma, a group of freaks at the center of a wildly popular comic book empire, a doctor bent on performing bleeding edge experiments on the patients in his care, and a psychotic group of bikers who're half Hell's Angels, half support group. O'Connell writes in a crisp voice, with great pacing and descriptions. Especially evocative are the sequences from the comic book, the story of the freaks in Limbo. But as the book goes on, it has a fractured quality that kept me from liking it too much. On one hand, it had a coalescing feel and a hint of cyberpunk that reminded me strongly of the intertwining plots of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash . On the other hand, it veered toward the literary at the end and the resolution wasn't nearly as satisfying as I was hoping for. (Come to think of it, there are many who have a similar beef with Stephenson, though.) In the end, it's a novel worth a read, but the hyperbolic descriptions on the back (comparing it to Pynchon, for instance) just don't do it for me. Maybe I'm too shallow or too unwilling to read philosophical significance in the novel's curiosity about consciousness. I guess I prefer my sci-fi harder in that regard.

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