The Resurrectionist
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The Resurrectionist

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2.79 of 5 stars 2.79  ·  rating details  ·  921 ratings  ·  144 reviews
What should I have said to her? That this life is so thin, so small, it might be lost in a moment without thought? That the worst prisons that we build are not of stone, but of our own making? That nothing done may ever truly be undone?

Leaving behind his father's tragic failures, Gabriel Swift arrives in London to study with Edwin Poll, greatest of the city's anatomists. I...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Faber & Faber (first published 2006)
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CB
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Verity
This book is undoubtedley one of the worst books I have ever read. The plot jerks from one thought to another with no real explanation, the "gory" parts made me yawn and absolutley no part of this novel was haunting like the synopsis promised it would be.
Aside from the bad writing, my main problem with it is that just as the book promises to be getting bearable, (over half way through!!) the plot line inexplicabley changes and it is as if Bradley has begun a new novel. Which is just as boring as...more
Deborah
Sep 18, 2010 Deborah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Deborah by: Book review
I'm within 40 pages of finishing this book and I have stayed up 2 nights (as I'm wont to do when I get my hands on a book I adore!) reading it after hubby goes to bed.

Finished the book and nothing but kudos to the writer for a great read!

This is a horrific, terrific, psychological and insane story that just captures and keeps coming at you until you're convinced Poe has you sitting by a fireplace in some dank Pennsylvanian farmhouse.

It's different, unusual, beautifully written. Mr. Bradley can...more
Sophie
Agghh - another over-hyped disappointment of a book. Rambled on; took half the book to get any sort of a story going and then lost it again. When will publishers and editors start becoming a little more selective?

The whole style seemed fragmented and inconsistent. Not easy to empathise with the character either or any of them for that matter. Wish I hadn't stuck it out to the end as it wasn't worth my time. How did it get picked as a 'Richard & Judy' pick?

I'd steer well clear of this one as...more
Michael Shilling
The last 50 pages - an extended epilogue - are good, but the rest is predictable, thin, and over-stylized. Period pieces need to play with their conventions a bit - otherwise why bother - but Bradley wants to follow all the rules, so it's a bit prissy.
Magdalena
That was a really frustrating read! No real character development, plot sketchy and not really thought through. Read it if you like but I wouldn't recommend it.
Emma
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Cate Earnshaw
Unsettlingly beautiful descriptions of the underbelly of Georgian London. Bradley is a wordsmith; this book is dank, fetid and repulsive, strangely beguiling but sadly equally unsatisfying.

Usually the jacket synopsis is covered in the first few chapters, but not with this novel. Here you only reach the 3rd line of the synopsis 1/2 way through the book! So it's not exactly a pacy read. Written in the 1st person, it is sometimes difficult to know who Gabriel is talking to or looking at, but it doe...more
Nath
I loved this book. Such an enthralling adventure into the grimiest depths of the grave robbing trade, and an excellent view of the ghastly London underworld. Great characters, excellent story and about as ghoulish a novel as I've experienced. Haven't been as chilled by a book since The Silence of the Lambs. Intensely readable but with splashes of literary magic, I feel the need to use such tired cliches as 'unputdownable' and 'page-turner', but without irony or rancour. Read it.
Amanda - Go Book Yourself
Possibly the worst book ever written. I was really looking forward to reading this book but the character development is non existent. The first couple of pages were really interesting and I loved reading about the work of the anatomists but it all goes down hill after that. The second part of the book is just ridiculous. I ws determined to finish it but I was sorry I did.
Manisha Kerai
Awful. Very thin plot and I couldn't care less about the characters. And what the hell was up with the ending. I seriously felt like throwing this book across the room on more than one occasion, it made me so angry and frustrated. How can a book go so wrong? Avoid.
Janette Fleming
The story of one man's descent into a nightmare of self-loathing in which his humanity and compassion is sucked out of him. The novel has a brilliant sense of time and place with excellent moody atmospheric writing

The slippery, shifting nature of the storyline with its first person narrative and prose style can be difficult to get into initially but you are soon hooked in by the captivating writing. For example consider the opening sentences:

In their sacks they ride as in their mother’s womb: k...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
I was really excited to read this book for two reasons: it's written by an Australian and is about the trade in stolen bodies used by anatomists in the 1800s.

I was really impressed that an Australian author could conjure the essence of London in the 1800s and was captivated by his writing early in the book. I'm fascinated by the topic of resurrectionists (grave robbers who steal recently buried bodies and sell them to anatomists who dissect them for science) and I thoroughly enjoyed the first ha...more
Anna
This book started promisingly. The language is superb, and I enjoyed the momentuous, snapshot-like style in which the relationship between characters and the events were described.
However, the book remains very much in the moment. The main character does not reflect upon his behaviour or the possible routes he could take. He acts as if choice did not really exist. In so doing, he spirals further and further downwards, without providing good explanations for why he so readily gives up his good po...more
Val
James Bradley hales from Adelaide, Australia. He is the author of three novels. This one, The Resurrectionist explores the murky world of underground anatomists in Victorian England. He has also written a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and edited The Penguin Book of the Ocean and Blur, a collection of stories by young Australian writers. Bradley also writes and reviews for a wide range of Australian and international newspapers and magazines.

James Bradley's books have achieved great acclaim. He...more
De Roedere
As a rule, I do all right avoiding any book announcing it's a Best Seller. If I can also avoid books recommended by people whose core business includes recommending books, then I do that too.
It's also good practice to be wary of award winners, depending on the award.
And when a friend passes on a remaindered book, claiming to have loved it, and the spine's not marked, then those are books to get rid of too.
But I love Gothic and I'm a sucker for an interesting cover. And Richard Flanagan (Now,...more
F.R.
I freely admit that I threw this book down in boredom after only eighty pages. Although there seem to be interesting events taking place in the tale, the prose has a dreamy and unhurried quality, which serves only to distance the reader from the plot and left me feeling totally uninvolved.

If Robert Louis Stevenson had written about body snatchers like this, they’d never have captured the public imagination.
Helen Maltby
I did NOT enjoy this. It seemed to leap from one thought to another and made little sense at the time. Call me old-fashioned but I like to know who a character is talking to. I'd rather the author didn't assume that because the character knows who he is talking to, then so does the reader!

On the plus side it isn't so long as it appears as it is full of very short chapters with lots of white space!
Sarah
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Denise
Frustratingly slow read. I had high hopes for this as the subject matter appealed to me (yeah, I know, sorry...) but I found the style of the prose clumsy, I didn't really get the main character, and I just lost interest enough to not carry on reading.
Disappointing.
underhandycat
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Martha
I really regret having forced myself to finish this tedious and depressing novel. I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters. They were so underdeveloped and so much of the plot was similarly shallow. A thoroughly unenjoyable read.
Andrea
Awful, awful, awful book. The language of the main character is horribly false and appears to be based upon James Bradley's imaginings of the way people spoke in this era, rather than any actual knowledge. A really poorly developed story.
Thomas
I hate to put people down, especially when they have worked hard at something in the hope that their work will be admired, but this is sensationally flawed in a number of ways. The actual writing is patchy. In places very poetic and admirable, but in others just plain bad. The story is pretty poor in many regards, simply because it winds up nowhere particulary interesting.
From the first few chapters I was intrigued to find out what the Resurrectionist's actually did. I wanted to read about the...more
M.G. Mason
Gabriel Swift arrives in London in the early 19th century to become the protege of one of the city's most celebrated anatomists. An innocent in a dark world, Swift soon becomes intoxicated with the anatomist's nemesis, the body snatcher Mister Lucan. When Swift loses his job, he finds himself sucked deeper and deeper into the dark world of the trade of dead bodies. By this time, it wasn't difficult to see it coming.

Undeniably, this book is well written and it is harrowing to watch Swift go from...more
Alice Suttle
Being interested in the macabre and morbid the blurb of this book hooked me instantly and left me no choice but to buy it and, hoping to gain a grisly insight into the seedy underworld of illegal corpse thievery and dissection, I set about reading it. The whole idea is a very interesting one but unfortunately that's about where my interest ended.

The story follows a group of Resurrectionists in squallid 19th century London. However, as exciting as that sounds, the story doesn't really lead anywh...more
Jo
When Gabriel Swift arrives in London in 1826 to study anatomy under the great anatomist Edwin Poll he would never have imagined the road that his life would ultimately take! He starts of with great enthusiasm expecting to make something of himself in the city but things take a very different turn and he finds himself in the company of some very unsavory characters.
I found this book quite distrubing but I had to keep reading, the descriptions of the various horrors that took place during the proc...more
Alexandra Gold
Aug 23, 2011 Alexandra Gold rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: macabre with a philosophical twist fans
Shelves: 2011
My rating would be 3.5 stars out of 5

I'm not going to write what the book is about , people can read the synopsis on the book's page.

I thought the beginning had started good and I was introduced into the grim atmosphere and the characters slowly. This didn't bother me. The plot is pretty simple, and the lives of the characters are interesting. I wasn't frighten by the actions in the first part of the book. Even if the first part takes like 3/4 of the book detailing what they do with with the b...more
Kirsten
Reading this book reminded me of a remark by Tom Servo in MST3K: "It's like they had two helpings of tension that they're trying to stretch out for seven people."

London, 1826, and Gabriel Swift works as apprentice to renowned anatomist Edwin Poll. These are the days of the Resurrection Men, when the expanding medical schools face a shortage of bodies for dissection, giving rise to the expansion of the bodysnatching trade. The godfather of London's resurrectionists is the dark figure Lucan, who h...more
Paula  Acton
Okay where to start overall i really loved this book but it has one flaw which may frustrate some readers. If you like nice clean endings this is not the book for you. This was the only negative I had about the book that the reader is left to speculate on the characters fates but I will come back to this shortly.

As the book is divided into three parts discussing them in turn seems as good away as any to start.
Part one introduces the majority of the characters who will appear throughout the book....more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James is the author of three novels: The Resurrectionist (Picador 2006), which explores the murky world of underground anatomists in Victorian England and was featured as one of Richard and Judy' Summer Reads in 2008; The Deep Field (Hodder Headline 2000), which is set in...more
More about James Bradley...
Wrack Beauty's Sister The Deep Field: A Novel The Element of Need: Murder and Memory in Adelaide The Penguin Book Of The Ocean

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