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The Revisionist

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Fiction. The title character of THE REVISIONIST conducts covert surveillance on a city whose inhabitants are subject to uncanny transformations as a result of catastrophic weather, political corruption, invasive technologies and environmental degradation. Hired to spin, or "revise," the facts, the revisionist's perceptions in turn become detached and distorted--inevitably ...more
Paperback, 82 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Calamari Press
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4.29  · 
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 ·  125 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it
An excerpt in Harpers led me to this book, and I think that vignette made a more powerful impression than the novella itself. Under the burden of narrative, or at least a longer form, it meanders. But there's plenty of vivid imagery I'm still thinking about: detonations and unravelings, perversions of nature, mundane resentments converted to violence. Derek White's ornate collage illustrations help the pacing, but it was ultimately kind of unsatisfying.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'll keep this review relatively short and sweet as I picked up this novella because it was one of my assigned readings for creative writing class. I have to say, I found this to be a really interesting read. It was a joy to go through the experience of reading this novella, and I absolutely loved it. It wasn't perfect, but it was great from a creative writing perspective.

For the most part, I don’t think the “general” populace will enjoy this book. It’s very weird and is full of odd imagery. It
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Strange, slight, meandering, irreverent, relevant, but by the end of leaves you feeling that it doesn't quite get to where it's trying to get to. The book is stuck in the no-man's land between poetic prose and prosaic poetry, and while learning more toward the latter, it tends to feel somewhat shortchanged in the former. Images, people, thoughts flying in and out like going through TV channels. People turning into conch shells, grandmas rotating and levitating around, recurrent barking dogs, nuc ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
On page five of The Revisionist it says, “Buildings were curdling.”
On page seventeen of The Revisionist it says, “It wasn’t just the radiation that made people flee to Start Over Island.” On the same page it also says, “ It was normal to get to know people and then to be scared or hurt, even killed by them.”
On page twenty-two of The Revisionist it says, “One friend’s dog required diapers.”
On page twenty-three of The Revisionist it says, “The day after I ripped my own mother’s clothes off in a
J-kwon Stanley
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was required reading for a creative writing class I am currently in. I have to say that I was initially put off by the abstract setting and the nonsensical logic that pervades throughout the story. However, the book really took a hold of me and my imagination. Never before had I read a book where a jogger could cork screw himself into the sand, be dug up and presented as a conch shell, and then exploded and put back together again as a fleshy rag doll.

I think this is the kind of book
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This has the feeling of moving through faulkner, but it is obviously very different. Incredibly dense images that make it difficult to decide if you should move-on or stay for a while. I'm a little impatient, and I find faulkner's books too overwhelmingly rich to finish, so I chose to move-on more often than not. However, for those who move-on regularly it would be important to re-read as well. This, especially since the images are as dense as the text, so when you are trying to make all the con ...more
Rod Funk
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those not easily shocked
I read a small excerpt of the small and wonderful book in Harpers and I immediately sought it out. It is published by the small Calimari Press in NY, and I ordered it from their website since I could not find it at my local booksellers. Miranda Mellis creates a post-apocalyptic landscape that is all too relevant to today. The main character is charged by the government to revised history as it is written. The writing is very visual and engaging. The accompanying illustrations perfectly complimen ...more
Jun 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
Its some kind of long prose poem. It's like a Dylan song, where nothing quite makes sense but you get the feeling that it means something. Ostensibly, its about someone hired to sit in an abandoned lighthouse to watch the weather changes and the nuclear fallout from some recent explosions and then to falsely report that everything is alright. But then it involves a man being mistaken for a conch shell and later exploding, a seeing eye dog giving a lecture called A Corpse Ate Death , and people ...more
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
I tend to be drawn to books where the idea is better than the execution. I do like the way that the illustrations in this book complement the text, rather than explicitly illustrate it. There were glimmers and flashes of great language and imagery, but they weren't prolonged for the whole novella. I am intrigued by Calamari Press, and I look forward to exploring some of their other titles.
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people I like
Shelves: favorites
This (Miranda Mellis's first book?) is so well crafted that it is an incredibly dense and amazing thing to behold. Not a word out of place. Not a mundane word standing in for a perfect word ever. So good. you should read it. really.
Kate Schatz
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Miranda, o miraculous Flower. This book's a wonder; I'm teachin' it in the Spring, gonna blow those kiddies minds. Love it.
A beautiful little book full of strange visions.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Lovely and evocative. I love Miranda more and more.
Lisa Sutton
Seriously, wtf with this book? I probably would not hate it nearly so much if I didn't have to write a paper (!) on it. This book really makes no sense at all.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: absurdist
bizarre. amazing.
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Dorian Cole
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“The seeing-eye dog was giving a lecture called A Corpse Ate Death. There was an avant-garde orchestra accompanying ihs lecture. Dogs barked along, and small children played answering machines, recorders, trombones, triangles, and ukuleles.” 1 likes
“For three weeks straight I had been observing the ocean. On the twenty-first day, I saw a man running along the shoreline. I could hear his feet hitting the sand. It was the first time I was able to discern with utter precision every nuance, every gearshift, every soft click of another person's mind.

He remembered that he was there to run, and he even remembered a time there was a reason for it. He did not remember the reason, nor did he want to. He feared he might be running for the old reasons, and didn't want to imitate himself. That would be running in place. Not too far down below the top shelves of memory he knew he was there to run for a reason, but still he decided to invent a different reason. He was reinvigorated by this decision to find a new reason, and ran even faster. He’d run seventeen miles when he realized in dismay that he'd forgotten to do it. He’d been running off the memory of an idea.

He was exhausted and his lungs burned. He pushed his head into the sand and his legs ran in a circle around his head that he was screwing into the sand. He pushed down and screw-drove himself until only his toes stuck out. His toes were twined around each other. I could no longer hear his thoughts. Was he dead? His heart was still beating.”
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