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The Resurrectionist (Quinsigamond #5)

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  617 ratings  ·  147 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Algonquin Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,111)
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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" on any top
...more
Emily
Apr 28, 2008 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nobody
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...
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 ...more
Timothy Juhl
Apr 20, 2008 Timothy Juhl rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one with an imagination
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
...more
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
...more
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.
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 turns into
...more
Sarah B.
Jun 18, 2009 Sarah B. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: library-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ...more
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 t

...more
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 ...more
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
...more
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.
Brenda
Jun 09, 2009 Brenda added it
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Katherine Hetzel
I'm afraid I skimmed a lot of this.

On the face of it, good story; young boy in a coma, trapped in limbo - a strange world that's related to a comic book he used to be fond of reading. Cue stressed out father who happens to be a pharmacist who gets a job in the research institute where the doctors say they can bring the boy out of the coma. Add in a really weird biker gang and sections of the limbo comic story - and you get this reader really confused.

The 'limbo' world was the most attractive pa
...more
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.
David
Fascinating and more than a little bit hallucinatory, this story of a father and his comatose son is an intense read. Wonderfully written, it was a little harder-edged than I'd anticipated, and the narrative itself became more and more challenging as you move deeper into the book.

Not hard to follow, not exactly, but more and more dreamlike in the very real meaning of the word. The logic to the narrative was increasingly like the logic of your dreams...it makes sense, kind of, but in ways that de
...more
Coral Davies
An intriguing and mesmerising tale exploring the idea of what people trapped in comas experience - where they 'go'.

I enjoyed the intertwining worlds of Danny and his father Sweeney and those of the freaks of Limbo. How each new chapter revealed a little more about each parallel world and steadily brought you closer to the dramatic conclusion.

I can't give it a 5 simply because i felt a number of characters weren't explored to the full extent that I would have wished: Alice Peck and Buzz to name b
...more
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.
Nicole
Maybe the ultimate in that broad/vague genre called “speculative” fiction--a speculation on the nature of consciousness itself. Up till now, O’Connell has been known as a mystery writer, and his plotting skills are on elaborate display here, as three distinct worlds are brought into collision. At the center is the character of Sweeney, a completely isolated, guilt-ridden and anger-driven insomniac father/widower, navigating a nightmarish reality of a new job as pharmacist at the Peck, a clinic t ...more
Beth
Ha! I just found my own review on the TC Goodreads. I originally picked this up because I was lucky enough to work with Jack O'Connell, who is a sweetheart.

Really it's a pretty amazing book. A pharmacist and his comatose son move to a new town with a supposedly top notch facility for coma patients. The town is more than a bit peculiar and unwelcoming. The pharmacist takes a job at the clinic where his son resides to keep a close careful watch over him, and always reads to him his favorite comic
...more
Samantha Boyette
A very strange book. The author writes beautifully if not a little confusingly. The story moves back and forth between the real world of Sweeny the pharmacist hoping for a miracle to bring his comatose son back, and the world of Limbo. Limbo is a comic within the story, and though many people seem to think that part of the book was sort of lame, I actually liked that story better than the real world one.

Maybe I just don't do well with stories that don't make much sense. The Limbo story was fair
...more
Katy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 ...more
Russ
If you are not equally intrigued by what seem like separate, unrelated plots in this story, you will not enjoy it and will probably not finish it. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Dr. Peck's methods of trying to revive comatose patients, and half of the novel takes place in a fantastic, dark, comic book parallel universe. Like any story with mystery and parallel worlds, it requires a suspension of disbelief. Read a straight-forward crime novel if that's a problem.



One problem I did have ear
...more
Alan
Mar 17, 2012 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Seekers after the sleep of reason
Recommended to Alan by: Previous work
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 s
...more
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Part classic noir thriller, part mind-bending fantasy, The Resurrectionist is a wild ride into a territory where nothing is as it appears. It is the story of Sweeney, a druggist by trade, and his son, Danny, the victim of an accident that has left him in a persistent coma. Hoping for a miracle, they have come to the fortress-like Peck Clinic, whose doctors claim to have resurrected two patients wh ...more
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