Read 1/20/10 - 1/25/10
4 Stars - Strongly Recommended
I want to thank Brittany over at Algonquin Books for this review copy. I realise that it is not really considered a "new release", however, I believe it is never too late to pick up a great book! And I am very glad I did.
In The Resurrectionist, we meet Sweeney - our main character, if I were to pick ONE and label him as such. I see him as the wheel around which this novel turns. Sweeney's son Danny has been in a coma for over a year, and they have just relocated to The Clinic - where Dr. Peck has successfully aroused 2 comatose patients.
O'Connell withholds information from us - the reader - information we desire to know. Which, quite frankly, kept me glued to this book. There are subtle and shrouded comments made about Danny's accident, yet it isn't clear to us what the actual accident was. We are informed that Danny's mother killed herself, unable to live with the guilt of Danny's condition, but we have no idea why she should have felt so guilty. And we learn that Sweeney can't be left alone with his thoughts, which can quickly plummett him into fits of rage, aggression, and depression.
As we chase after Sweeney, we are introduced to the comic book LIMBO and it's cast of circus freaks, which, according to all the paraphanlia that covers and litters Danny's room, has exploded into a preteen Amercian phenomenon. It's Danny's favorite thing in the whole world, and his father gets sucked into it for him, laying next to him in his hospital bed, reading the comics, hoping his son is listening.
Each issue of the LIMBO comic is designated its own separate chapter (strategically placed throughout the novel) in which we follow Chicken Boy, Aziz, Bruno, and a handful of other freaks through their trials and tribulations - which, strangely enough, seem to mirror those of Sweeney in the real world.
Parellels can be made between the group of misfit junkie bikers - all named after animals due to their personalities or physical resemblance to it - that Sweeney gets mixed up with, and the circus freaks from the LIMBO comics.
Even deeper than the loose connections between characters, O'Connell messes with the hearts of all parents by forcing you to look inward:
What would you do for your child?
How far would you be willing to go, what things would you put yourself and your child through, if you thought it meant they could be returned to you... pulled out of the limbo-land they are inhabiting, withdrawn from our world?
Or would you try to put yourself in their world?
At what point do you take the plunge?
Could you let go and make the leap if it meant trusting someone, or worse, not knowing?
I would think this goes without saying, but we do eventually discover what happened between Danny and his mother the day of his accident, we do get closure on the cast of circus freaks from the LIMBO comics... but will Sweeney and Danny get the closure they deserve? Read the book, my fellow followers. Read the book, and you tell me!