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- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceThe Resurrectionist (Paperback)
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill$11.16The Resurrectionist (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Highbridge Company$31.45
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 38.
- Review Date: 2008-02-04
- Reviewer: Staff
Two worlds wrapped tight in gloomy gothic trappings vie for dominance in this engrossing, elaborately staged exploration of consciousness from O'Connell (The Skin Palace). Sweeney, an Ohio pharmacist, brings his comatose son, Danny, to the Peck Clinic, “a sandstone monster on fifty acres of private land near Quinsigamond's western border.” Danny is all Sweeney lives for; he even studies the comic book Limbo, featuring a troupe of circus freaks led by the visionary Chick the chicken boy, for what his son may have imagined when his brain functioned normally. Like Stephen King in Richard Bachman mode, O'Connell digs for darkness as Chick and his companions, who inhabit the fantasy realm of Gehenna, encounter Dr. Lazarus Cole, “The Resurrectionist” (stoned to death only to walk again) and dread the inevitable showdown with their nemesis, “the mad doctor called Fliess,” in his “enormous laboratory castle, the Black Iron Clinic.” Meanwhile, in the real world, cultists kidnap Sweeney in hopes of using fluid from Danny's brain to transport them all to Gehenna. This strange brew is sure to enhance O'Connell's growing cult status. (Apr.)
Revealing the power of storytelling
Jack O'Connell's new novel, The Resurrectionist, invites readers to willingly suspend their disbelief as they are drawn into a world dominated by terror and tragedy, fantasy and reality, and hopes and dreams. Upon entering the novel's paradoxical world, readers are introduced to Sweeney, a widowed father from Cleveland, and Danny, Sweeney's six-year-old son, who languishes in a coma following an unspecified accident. Newly arrived at the Peck Clinic near Quinsigamond in Massachusetts, Dannyas patientand Sweeneyas the clinic's newly hired pharmacistare relying upon the clinic's extraordinary claims that doctors there have successfully used experimental therapies to "resurrect" patients who had previously been lost within the unfathomable oblivion of comas.
As readers are introduced to a singular assortment of people at the clinic (obsessive neurologists, cunning nurses and strangely preoccupied staffers) as well as those beyond its walls (including a terrifying motorcycle gang whose mind-boggling preoccupations are sinister, brutal andsurprisinglyredemptive), Danny's guilt-burdened father soon begins to realize that the only hope for his son's recovery may lie within Limbo, a fantasy comic book world into which Danny had been drawn at the time of his mysterious accident.
In a risky but brilliantly successful narrative strategy, O'Connell deftly weaves together several plotlinesthe story of Sweeney and Danny at the clinic, the story of the doctors who own the clinic, the story of the outlaw bikers and, most audaciously, the mesmerizing story of a troupe of wandering circus freaks.
With four superb books already to his creditThe Skin Palace, Word Made Flesh, Wireless and Box NineO'Connell has boldly entered exciting new territory with The Resurrectionist, a remarkable novel that is hilarious, baffling, terrifying and reassuring. O'Connell adroitly blurs the not-so-clear boundaries between fiction and real life, inviting readers to re-examine the often ineffable power of myth, fantasy and stories.
Tim Davis writes from the Gulf Coast of Alabama.