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, Danny—as patient—and Sweeney—as the clinic's newly hired pharmacist—are 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 and—surprisingly—redemptive), 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 plotlines—the 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 credit—The Skin Palace, Word Made Flesh, Wireless and Box Nine—O'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.