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All is not boding well for Father Julius. . . A street preacher decked out in denim robes and running shoes, Julius is a source of inspiration for a community that knows nothing of his scandalous origins. But when a nearby mental hospital releases its patients to run amok in his neighborhood, his trusted if bedraggled flock turns expectantly to Julius to find out whats All is not boding well for Father Julius. . . A street preacher decked out in denim robes and running shoes, Julius is a source of inspiration for a community that knows nothing of his scandalous origins. But when a nearby mental hospital releases its patients to run amok in his neighborhood, his trusted if bedraggled flock turns expectantly to Julius to find out what’s going on. Amid the descending chaos, Julius encounters a hospital escapee who babbles prophecies of doom, and the growing palpable sense of impending danger intensifies. . . as does the feeling that everyone may be relying on a street preacher just a little too much. Still, Julius decides he must confront the forces that threaten his congregation—including the peculiar followers of a religious cult, the mysterious men and women dressed all in red seen fleetingly amid the bedlam, and an enigmatic smoking figure who seems to know what’s going to happen just before it does. In the end, The Revisionaries is a wildly imaginative, masterfully rendered, and suspenseful tale that conjures the bold outlandishness stylishness of Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Moore—while being unlike anything that’s come before.


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All is not boding well for Father Julius. . . A street preacher decked out in denim robes and running shoes, Julius is a source of inspiration for a community that knows nothing of his scandalous origins. But when a nearby mental hospital releases its patients to run amok in his neighborhood, his trusted if bedraggled flock turns expectantly to Julius to find out whats All is not boding well for Father Julius. . . A street preacher decked out in denim robes and running shoes, Julius is a source of inspiration for a community that knows nothing of his scandalous origins. But when a nearby mental hospital releases its patients to run amok in his neighborhood, his trusted if bedraggled flock turns expectantly to Julius to find out what’s going on. Amid the descending chaos, Julius encounters a hospital escapee who babbles prophecies of doom, and the growing palpable sense of impending danger intensifies. . . as does the feeling that everyone may be relying on a street preacher just a little too much. Still, Julius decides he must confront the forces that threaten his congregation—including the peculiar followers of a religious cult, the mysterious men and women dressed all in red seen fleetingly amid the bedlam, and an enigmatic smoking figure who seems to know what’s going to happen just before it does. In the end, The Revisionaries is a wildly imaginative, masterfully rendered, and suspenseful tale that conjures the bold outlandishness stylishness of Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Moore—while being unlike anything that’s come before.

30 review for The Revisionaries

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    I spent 24 hours clawing through the tangled thicket of A.R. Moxons gargantuan debut novel, The Revisionaries. Throughout that lonely ordeal, I was baffled, dazzled, angered and awed. In between bouts of hating it, I adored it. The Revisionaries is a self-indulgent muddle; its a modern-day classic. Can reading a novel trigger a nervous breakdown? Asking for a friend. I realize this is a fraught enterprise. Picking up any new book is an act of faith; committing to a long, difficult one written by I spent 24 hours clawing through the tangled thicket of A.R. Moxon’s gargantuan debut novel, “The Revisionaries.” Throughout that lonely ordeal, I was baffled, dazzled, angered and awed. In between bouts of hating it, I adored it. “The Revisionaries” is a self-indulgent muddle; it’s a modern-day classic. Can reading a novel trigger a nervous breakdown? Asking for a friend. I realize this is a fraught enterprise. Picking up any new book is an act of faith; committing to a long, difficult one written by someone you’ve never heard of feels dangerously promiscuous. A brief note below Moxon’s headshot on the jacket flap says only that the author lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., which is neither here nor there, and that he runs a popular Twitter handle, which is such a humiliating distinction that I shall not mention it. In any case, Moxon’s omnivorous mind and acrobatic style shouldn’t be restricted to 280 characters — or even 280 pages. This brilliant writer needs all the. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    4.5, rounded down Update 1/10: In retrospect, I think my original review below reads somewhat too harshly (although I was THRILLED the author himself 'liked' it!!), and may unfortunately dissuade people from reading this remarkable book, so wanted to add that after finishing and returning my library copy, I went ahead and ordered my own - since I know I will re-read it one day (and I'll wanna make notes next time!). Although I prefer NOT to add to Bezos' coffers, Amazon currently has the 4.5, rounded down Update 1/10: In retrospect, I think my original review below reads somewhat too harshly (although I was THRILLED the author himself 'liked' it!!), and may unfortunately dissuade people from reading this remarkable book, so wanted to add that after finishing and returning my library copy, I went ahead and ordered my own - since I know I will re-read it one day (and I'll wanna make notes next time!). Although I prefer NOT to add to Bezos' coffers, Amazon currently has the hardcover (first edition even!) on sale for a mere $14.99, less than half the cover price. Original review(slightly revised): The book has been (favorably) compared to everyone from Vonnegut to Pynchon to Atwood to VanderMeer to David Foster Wallace (footnotes rule!), but the obvious precursor is Tom Robbins (who gets a nifty hidden shoutout to his debut novel on p. 207) ... and whatever happened to him? Never fear, Moxon has arrived to fill a void you never even knew existed. There is so much right about this very, VERY unusual book, that it seems somewhat churlish to only award it 4 stars - but there are also large chunks of it that feel like one is wading through pools of molasses, and despairing of ever getting out. In some ways this was inevitable, as the book is SO ambitious and tries to cram virtually everything under the sun into its long 600 pages, that there were bound to be some longueurs ... trudging through a dozen (albeit necessary) pages 'explaining' quantum physics being just one example. And while much of it is dazzling, sometimes there are leaps that don't QUITE work and often are abandoned almost as soon as they are proffered - e.g., at one point you learn that everything you have been reading up to that point is actually a bastardized version of a long running graphic novel in which all the characters are CATS - one page of which is charmingly rendered for the reader's delectation and amusement on p. 415. But then that conceit is largely dismissed, except for the occasional mention of a character being a 'cool cat' - but then again, that ties into the central conceit of the entire book, which is that everything is constantly being 'revised' by some unseen force (the author/s? God?). If a novel in which a major character suddenly becomes a dozen pair of leather sandals sounds off-putting, then this is definitely NOT the book for you. Or if you have no interest in a sci-fi fantasy adventure horror comic riff on the Book of Jonah - then steer clear. It is NOT an easy read by any measure - there are over a dozen semi-major characters, who often change both name and identity several times over the course of the work, seemingly willy-nilly, with several plot threads happening in different locales and time frames ... the book utilizes a half dozen different fonts to try to delineate between these, but it would take an Einstein to keep them all straight (hint - don't even attempt the audio version, or to read this on an eReader - a print copy would seem to be an absolute necessity! And reading it will count as exercise, while you carry around the hefty tome!) :-) If it seems I am trying to ward off potential readers, let me say that it is a unique reading experience that is often enthralling and head-spinning - but it may perhaps enrage and ultimately defeat as many people as it enchants - you know who you are. Call it the Infinite Jest for the 2020s. Up for the challenge? Finally, the author has provided a fascinating history of the book's lineage that is definitely worth reading, should you be vacillating still on whether you want to dive in - or, as I did, to elucidate the process once one's finished: https://tinyletter.com/ARMoxon/letter.... PS... just because he is the BEST, also read my buddy Ron Charles' cogent and hilarious review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... PPS ... how could I resist a book whose main character is named 'Gordy'? (my last name!) PPPS: this get my nomination for coolest cover of 2020 also!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristian

    Perhaps the best work of literary fiction to come out of the 2010s. And very last minute at that. If you claim to have outgrown your fascination with the word quantum but still secretly wonder (not that you'd ever ADMIT to it) if an explanation for all things unexplained can somehow be found in that word, or, even better, in the very insufficiency of its powers or if you... oh! This is good: If you feel like even the MOST unlikely and wild explanations for it all (life, death, the universe, Perhaps the best work of literary fiction to come out of the 2010s. And very last minute at that. If you claim to have outgrown your fascination with the word ”quantum” but still secretly wonder (not that you'd ever ADMIT to it) if an explanation for all things unexplained can somehow be found in that word, or, even better, in the very insufficiency of its powers – or if you... oh! This is good: If you feel like even the MOST unlikely and wild explanations for it all (life, death, the universe, fate, faith, everything and nothing) still somehow seem to bring you closer to a sense or an outline of the truth, then... this book is right up your alley. It is a labyrinthine novel of stupefying reach, a knotty problem ever unfurling. Yet: immensely readable and original. Incredibly funny! While... mein Gott... so many layers... DIMENSIONS?! Oo! Yikes. Russian doll kind of thing. Metaphysical. Danielewski. Gravity's Pynch. Lynch? A triumph of the human imagination, above all. All the while revealing the truths about humanity most comfortably ignored - yes, a painfully relevant read, 'cuz guess what: the vilest villain out there is this world we have created, precisely because it allows villains to rise to power. Bravo Mr. Moxon, and thank you! "Unraveling of timeless truths Retracing other writers' roots The red rope binds in fast embrace Some knots don't untie Some knots do not untie." - Nicole Atkins

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    I recently made the decision to start accepting advance review copies (or ARCs) of soon-to-be-published novels again, for the first time in three years; and then almost immediately I started regretting the decision, in that the first four ARCs in a row I read were fucking crap, the exact kind of dismal middlebrow bullshit aggressively promoted by shrill freelance publicists that made me quit accepting ARCs three years ago in the first place. So that makes me doubly glad to have had a chance to I recently made the decision to start accepting advance review copies (or ARCs) of soon-to-be-published novels again, for the first time in three years; and then almost immediately I started regretting the decision, in that the first four ARCs in a row I read were fucking crap, the exact kind of dismal middlebrow bullshit aggressively promoted by shrill freelance publicists that made me quit accepting ARCs three years ago in the first place. So that makes me doubly glad to have had a chance to recently finish A.R. Moxon's remarkable debut novel, The Revisionaries, which is arriving in bookstores the exact week I'm posting this; because it wasn't just a crackingly great weirdo saga marking the arrival of a major new literary talent, but it was also a reminder of why it's worth taking a chance on unknown new writers in the first place, a reminder I definitely needed here in a 2019 that was mostly defined by my ever-increasing dive back into the great classics of the past. The Revisionaries is in a genre known by its fans as "bizarro," although it's less of the David Lynch variety (weird shit thrown at you randomly for no particular reason) and more the Tim Powers kind (weird shit thrown at you randomly but with the sense that it'll all come together by the end). Or put another way, the marketing material for this book compares it often to Thomas Pynchon, as shorthand for "it's long and strange," but would be better described as "Haruki Murakami meets The Wire," in that its long page count and endless strange details take on a curious kind of logic as you're making your way through it, even as this weirdness takes place within the usually gritty social-realist milieu of competing street gangs in a poor section of an unnamed city, and the liberal religious organization that services this community. That's an act-one feint to be sure, but as good a tip of an iceberg as any for a novel that's over 600 pages long, contains four small books worth of plot, details the secret evil history of Dollywood, and oh yes, features a sewer tunnel that may or may not traverse the entire planet and perhaps even pierce the fabric of the space-time continuum itself. To reveal any more of the plot would be to spoil the fun of this endlessly inventive novel; but I can say that this will be equally up the alley of both convention-going fanboys and ivory tower MFAers, because the main subject driving this gonzo storyline is that of "metafiction" -- that is, stories about storytellers who are writing stories about storytellers, in which some characters of the book suddenly realize that they're characters in a book, and are able to have a confrontation with the author who created them, who then somehow becomes a character in his own book, only it's not his book anymore because one of his characters has usurped him and become the author himself. If you get a headache just thinking about this, it would be best to skip The Revisionaries altogether; but if you get excited about a synopsis like that, you'll want to rush to the bookstore right away, in that this gets Postmodernism right in a way that a thousand hippy-dippy novels in the '70s tried and failed at. It's not perfect, which is why it's getting four stars from me instead of five -- its chief sin being that Moxon forgot the first rule of bizarro lit, that less is always better than more, making this a book he could've realistically cut in half and still convincingly make his point -- but in general I have to admit that I was surprised, pleased and delighted by how great a story this actually turned out to be, one of those emotionally weighty barn-burners that makes you feel like you legitimately accomplished something important once you finally finish it several weeks after you began. It comes strongly recommended in this spirit, a book that you need to commit to and occasionally forgive, but that is well worth your time and energy when all is said and done. [Enjoy my writing? Get a lot more of it at patreon.com/jasonpettus.]

  5. 5 out of 5

    juanito moore

    I've been reading versions of this book since it was only a quarter written, and it has consistently been one of my favorite things to read. I am not a sophisticated reader -- some world class literature flies right over my head -- but I'm literate, and believe I have discriminating taste. I'm more interested in language and character and world than layered plots and complex relationships. But this book has ALL OF THESE! I failed to even understand many of the underlying themes until discussing I've been reading versions of this book since it was only a quarter written, and it has consistently been one of my favorite things to read. I am not a sophisticated reader -- some world class literature flies right over my head -- but I'm literate, and believe I have discriminating taste. I'm more interested in language and character and world than layered plots and complex relationships. But this book has ALL OF THESE! I failed to even understand many of the underlying themes until discussing the book with other readers. I recommend this book without reservation. But that's not actually true. First I ask people if they read fiction. Then I try to ascertain if they prefer quick shallow reads or deeper material. Then I'll talk about how much I enjoyed this book, try to give a quick synopsis of the first section "...well, see, there's a priest who doesn't believe in God but wants to, and there's a man who is sometimes invisible who claims he talks to God..." and then follow that up with the giant caveat that there is no synopsis that can really do this book justice. If I haven't lost my audience at this point, I'll mention: "This book has the line '...concertina of imprecision'." "There's a character who muses about a rhyme scheme like ABBCBAACBCABDDDDDCDDDDA [that's actually it, I looked it up] and then later there's an epic poem about canned sardines featuring that rhyme scheme." "I've never heard the dimensions of space/time explained as clearly as it was explained by a man in a powder blue suit in a donut shop." Then maybe I'll lean on AR Moxon's most widely read work: "Heard of Julius Goat? He had a viral thread after the Charlottesville Unite The Right rally? Questlove and Hillary Clinton retweeted it?" If you're interested in a massively rewarding book with outrageously broad themes and gorgeous writing, complex multilayered plots that reward astute reading without being necessary to the enjoyment of the book, and deeply compassionate writing depicting tragedy without ever being cruel, check this one out!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam Wing

    Oh, man. What do I even say about this book? Whoof. How do I describe it? A.R. Moxons debut novel, The Revisionaries isnt a time travel story, yet reading it is undoubtedly what it feels like to get hopelessly lost while travelling through time. A.R. Moxons debut novel, The Revisionaries is Infinite Jest, if Infinite Jest were actually good and had a compelling story. A.R. Moxons debut novel, The Revisionaries offers a classical narrative exploded into a metamodern fever dream, in which no Oh, man. What do I even say about this book? Whoof. How do I describe it? …A.R. Moxon’s debut novel, The Revisionaries isn’t a time travel story, yet reading it is undoubtedly what it feels like to get hopelessly lost while travelling through time. …A.R. Moxon’s debut novel, The Revisionaries is Infinite Jest, if Infinite Jest were actually good and had a compelling story. …A.R. Moxon’s debut novel, The Revisionaries offers a classical narrative … exploded into a metamodern fever dream, in which no individual piece makes any sense at all … but by the end, you realize the story had been wholly accessible all along. …A.R. Moxon’s debut novel—well, you get the point. The fact is, I really liked this book. I can’t say, I’d recommend it to everyone. You see, The Revisionaries drops you into a world that doesn’t quite seem right—not as in -something’s wrong and our heroes must fix it- but more along the lines of -these characters, these events, this setting, don’t quite line up with how stories are usually told. The obstacles as they appear don’t make a lot of sense, random-seeming and out of place. But the writing is crisp and smart and sharp, the characters are complex and interesting, and an elegant narrative pulls forward faster than you’d believe. The novel begins in this way, and you think, ‘Yeah, I could see getting into this.’ But this only the beginning, not the book you’re reading at all. You don’t even know yet. Because A.R. Moxon’s debut novel, The Revisionaries offers a narrative that begins in the middle. Not the middle of the story, mind you; the middle of the book. An ontological paradox splinters its structure, reaching way back to the first page, and all the way forward to the last. As a reader, you’re compelled to be aware of, not just what’s happening in any given scene, but what’s ACTUALLY happening, and not just what’s actually happening, but what’s REALLY actually happening. It gets pretty messy. Yet through it all, the story doesn’t fail you. As much as you want to know what’s happening you desperately want to know what’s GOING to happen. In the end both questions satisfy. A.R. Moxon’s debut novel, The Revisionaries is a book I’d recommend if you’re a patient reader, if you don’t mind not always knowing what’s going on, if you’re looking for a narrative that will challenge you as much as it surprises you, and will probably surprise you more times than you can count. If that’s the sort of reader you are, you should probably read this book. You might even decide it’s a masterpiece.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Not gonna lie: I read this book because I follow its author on Twitter. Under the handle @JuliusGoat, he opines about politics with a cutting-edge wit and insight. This is his first novel, but I doubt it will be his last. I certainly hope not. The Revisionaries is difficult to pin down. Its a story which is clearly inspired by Thomas Pynchon, although far more readable; but there are also hints of Alan Moore, Mark Danielewski and even the later Dark Tower novels. It asks a number of tough Not gonna lie: I read this book because I follow its author on Twitter. Under the handle @JuliusGoat, he opines about politics with a cutting-edge wit and insight. This is his first novel, but I doubt it will be his last. I certainly hope not. The Revisionaries is difficult to pin down. It’s a story which is clearly inspired by Thomas Pynchon, although far more readable; but there are also hints of Alan Moore, Mark Danielewski and even the later Dark Tower novels. It asks a number of tough questions about writing and the relationship of an author to her work, and while not answering many of them, gives a reader a lot to ponder. This makes it sound dull, which it isn’t. It’s highly entertaining, funny, sometimes frightening, often puzzling. Even though it’s not overtly political, some sly commentary on our current society does make its way into the mix. No, it’s not perfect. I think it should have been trimmed by at least fifty pages, although not losing entire scenes; just cutting some of the repetition. I would also give Moxon’s female characters more action. While they are highly developed and have interesting backstories and thoughts, they don’t advance the plot compared to the male characters. How much more fun it would have been, for instance, if the villain had been a woman. Overall, I loved this book, enjoyed it thoroughly, and hope to hear more from Julius. Excuse me; A. R. Moxon. Who is not a moron. (Twitter joke.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Winfield

    Its a huuuge book, but it makes great use of every page. You need to focus to read this book, its not for skimming, and if you try, youll find yourself going back to re-read what you hurried through. But if you take the time to digest it, youll fall in love with this book, and at least a few of the characters. It’s a huuuge book, but it makes great use of every page. You need to focus to read this book, it’s not for skimming, and if you try, you’ll find yourself going back to re-read what you hurried through. But if you take the time to digest it, you’ll fall in love with this book, and at least a few of the characters.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    There's a little-known law in literature: If all the blurbs on a book jacket are attributed to "Author of...," that book will kind of suck. And I do mean "kind of." It won't be TERRIBLE. It will be...tolerable. Probably adequate in execution. It may even be fairly all right for a holiday read when there are lots of distractions and you don't necessarily need something wholly absorbing. But mostly it'll faintly remind you of other writers you REALLY like so that when you're reading this book There's a little-known law in literature: If all the blurbs on a book jacket are attributed to "Author of...," that book will kind of suck. And I do mean "kind of." It won't be TERRIBLE. It will be...tolerable. Probably adequate in execution. It may even be fairly all right for a holiday read when there are lots of distractions and you don't necessarily need something wholly absorbing. But mostly it'll faintly remind you of other writers you REALLY like so that when you're reading this book you'll often be thinking how you'd maybe rather be rereading one of those other writers' books. That's where the suck factor kicks in. It's not even really the book you're reading's fault. But when you can too blatantly feel the influences, you'll be fighting the whole time the gravitational pull toward them. You'll be constantly reminded of how this material might've been worked by them. Anyhow. Despite noting that all the blurbs for The Revisionaries come from "Author of," I decided to buy A.R. Moxon's book in brand new hardcover because I adore Moxon. As Julius Goat, Moxon is my very favorite presence on Twitter. I'm not even ON Twitter but I read his feed almost daily. I would absolutely read 600 pages of Julius Goat posts. I'm sure, actually, that I already have. That's why I took the risk of a full-price hardcover purchase: Moxon is, singlehandedly, a civic service that has already more than earned full livable support. And his book is...not terrible. I'm fumbling for a way to best describe it. Some segments are absolutely fantastic. Some are irritatingly precious. Some show way too much longing to be a Vonnegut or a Pynchon or a David F. Wallace. It doesn't help that a lot of this feels like ground we've traveled before. The grizzled, doubting preacher. The street toughs with finer ethics than your average bougie. The purportedly crazy who turn out to be the most sane. The women who don't seem to have much purpose other than to further the journeys of -- i.e., emotionally educate -- the lead male characters. There's a circus and an asylum and some post-post-modern Barth/Borges stuff that fails to cohere or truly satisfy. On the other hand, it's engaging. There are several deep, thoughtful passages. There are some solid gold laughs -- intentional ones so deftly played that they filled me with glee. And when Moxon goes quiet, simple, with one of those perfect parables he uses so well as Julius Goat, he's absolutely splendid. There's an extended flashback so exquisitely fashioned that it could be its own novella and still be worth the price of admission. Ultimately, this isn't the book one hopes it would be. It's not, I believe, the best Moxon is capable of. But I'm glad I bought it. I hope you will buy it. His next novel is gonna slay.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Annarella

    I found this book engrossing and entertaining but also full of food for thought. The plot is well crafted, the world building is amazing and the characters are fleshed out. An excellent read, recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Brude

    I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I found the overwritten, self-indulgent prose so distracting that it kicked me out of the flow of the novel. Therefore, I found myself detached from the plot. This is probably a clever novel but its told in a blatant clever way that feels unnecessary. This aspires to be like Thomas Pynchon, or maybe Tom Robbinsbut unlike those authors who create clever, slightly-off worlds, the cleverness in this novel seemed unnecessary. I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I found the overwritten, self-indulgent prose so distracting that it kicked me out of the flow of the novel. Therefore, I found myself detached from the plot. This is probably a clever novel but it’s told in a blatant clever way that feels unnecessary. This aspires to be like Thomas Pynchon, or maybe Tom Robbins—but unlike those authors who create clever, slightly-off worlds, the cleverness in this novel seemed unnecessary.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I stumbled through this novel for about 5 days and only made it 30% through. I hate to give this book a poor review because I really was interested the whole let the looneys go thing and the conspiracies evolving, however, I didnt make it far enough into the book for any of it to make sense. The narration was not my style. I found myself rereading passages and losing my place because the sentence structure and storytelling just left me confused. Maybe Im not as intelligent as I think I am or I stumbled through this novel for about 5 days and only made it 30% through. I hate to give this book a poor review because I really was interested the whole “let the looneys go” thing and the conspiracies evolving, however, I didn’t make it far enough into the book for any of it to make sense. The narration was not my style. I found myself rereading passages and losing my place because the sentence structure and storytelling just left me confused. Maybe I’m not as intelligent as I think I am or maybe it’s intended that the reader is confused. Regardless, after 5 days of attempting to work my way through this story, I decided that this novel is just not for me. I wish it was because the plot seems interesting. Maybe one day I’ll pick this book up again and give it another try.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rees Malwin

    There was no way I was letting this book escape into 2020, into my pile of ever-exceeding novels to read. Andthe treasure trove it isIm glad I did. There isnt a better way to end off the decade than to find something that inspires you to search deeper for the meanings of lifes lessons and reach out towards them. Patterns, coincidences, conspiracies, opinions: all of these thoughts are interpretative and subjective. Reading this, Ive realized it is impossible to live one-hundred percent There was no way I was letting this book escape into 2020, into my pile of ever-exceeding novels to read. And—the treasure trove it is—I’m glad I did. There isn’t a better way to end off the decade than to find something that inspires you to search deeper for the meanings of life’s lessons and reach out towards them. Patterns, coincidences, conspiracies, opinions: all of these thoughts are interpretative and subjective. Reading this, I’ve realized it is impossible to live one-hundred percent objectively. There will always be a focus on the self as long as the self is alive, and the self has its own consciousness filled with its own individual thoughts, which branch out into opinions, conspiracies, patterns, and coincidences. If the self is the only one speaking, the self will never develop or learn any of its life lessons, which is why the self has to listen to other selves: for while there is the self to look after, there are other selves around that could use support or a lesson. I’m gonna stop before I get too deep and actually move onto what I can muster up of a review (seriously, this book feels like something to write a 25-page essay on, like it’s part of a college course). Moxon is a rather charming devil with the power to bend form in the slightest ways that make you want to knock on your head. The first part reminded me of THE GODFATHER, except more psychedelic—if, say, Hunter S. Thompson took the wheel for Puzo during his writer’s blocks—and the eschatological feel of all Joyce Carol Oates’s villains and anti-heroes escaping to/from an island. Part two exudes vibes I get from Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s CEMETERY OF FORGOTTEN BOOKS, with an historical prose reminiscent to works by David Mitchell, like the first and last few chapters of CLOUD ATLAS or THE THOUSAND SUMMERS OF JACOB DE ZOET. The third part starts to boast the more descriptiveness some authors like David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Franzen showcase(d) extremely well, but manages to retain its own unique Björk-esque, Sjon-ish (Icelandic-ish) style. (I could not stop thinking of INFINITE JEST through possibly this entire book, which propelled my desire to finish it faster, since I’d read IJ over a three month period.) And then the final part, which I am still now (and will for years to come be) pondering over its sublime scope. When the book jacket compared the novel to the likes of Pynchon, I got a little suspicious (especially with cats being such heavy...thought in this story), but the last part, which is as unconventional and fun to peruse through as Mark Z. Danielewski’s HOUSE OF LEAVES, reminded me heavily of the ending of Thomas Pynchon’s debut novel, V. (And DEFINITELY comparable to Alan Moore, especially the third book in his JERUSALEM trilogy) So: I coerced myself to read this book and in the process have stumbled upon a new burning star; realized what I’ve stumbled upon is something magnificently grand and promising, and a hell of a lot more than I was hoping for/expecting. This book, like the prisoners within, encages you, intoxicates you like sangria to keep reading, to turn the next page until there aren’t any left to turn, and then flip them back in reverse order to make sure you didn’t miss a single brick in the walls of pages, and once you’re snapped out of the spell of whatever was dosed in that sangria you drank while you were, only then will you realize it’s best you start over from the first page, with a new pitcher of sangria. My next tattoo: ‘I did not run away with the circus. The circus ran away with me.’

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A priest, an author and a reluctant superhero walk into a donut shop. This was a great book. Or maybe books; depending on how you look at it. Emphasis very much on you, the reader, since one of the many ongoing editorial conversations revolves around the roles, rights and powers of creators and their audiences. Not to mention Creators and their audiences. That plot is hard to summarize; its probably best to let it wash over you, and allow the various strands to unwind, entangle and thwart each A priest, an author and a reluctant superhero walk into a donut shop. This was a great book. Or maybe books; depending on how you look at it. Emphasis very much on “you,” the reader, since one of the many ongoing editorial conversations revolves around the roles, rights and powers of creators and their audiences. Not to mention Creators and their audiences. That plot is hard to summarize; it’s probably best to let it wash over you, and allow the various strands to unwind, entangle and thwart each other. In very general terms, it involves the hunt for an all-powerful lottery ticket, and the lengths various characters will go to get it, or get away from it. But there’s no way that will prepare you for what’s in store. It’s 600 pages in hardback after all. I haven’t mentioned, for instance, the time travel and dimension travel and body swapping and doors that open onto beaches as big as the world and the mysterious dark water that erases the mind of anyone who drinks it and the tunnel that runs for hundreds of miles underground from Pigeon Forge to Loony Island to a far land. And, as hinted at above, the question of who’s in charge of this whole damn(ed) narrative. Beyond those and many other building blocks, the novel touches fascinatingly on a range of topics: Free will. Biblical prophecy and human intransigency. The prison-industrial complex. Man’s inhumanity to man. The absolute corruption of absolute power. Intentional societal structures that slice, dice and house difficult humans like sardines. Also, too, sardines. Running: away, toward, from, after. Leaping without looking. Donuts. Doughnuts. Birds. Cats. Cartoons. Some really nasty torture – don’t worry, it’s all in service of teaching Important Lessons. But it’s not (just) a polemic; it’s also a great read. It’s definitely worth taking slowly to savor both the fun the author has with language and the sharp social insights sprinkled liberally throughout, adding extra flavor to a story that can be intentionally puzzling but never boring. Plus, there are the characters that really do sort of leap off the page. Some, multiple times. Among them are the priest who’s not a priest and doesn’t really believe in God; the man who’s there and not there and tasked with a potentially world-ending responsibility; the mob lieutenant with an unquenchable thirst for vengeance; the mob enforcer who runs a donut shop; the bearded lady/aerial artist who serves as a de facto prison warden; the messianic cult leader who’s convinced the universe isn’t just all about him, but is him. And the blue-suited guy who folds himself in half multiple times before he disappears. It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. And amen to that.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Missy MacDonald

    The Revisionaries starts out fairly straightforward for fiction/fantasyodd street preacher, abruptly released mental patients, organized crime, samurai in red robes, flickering main characterand then things get weird. The first half was excellent, the next quarter was good, but the final quarter seemed more an exercise in cleverness than wrapping up the plot. Though, to be fair, Im not 100% sure what really happened on the final page or to Boyd. A good read for people comfortable with multiple, The Revisionaries starts out fairly straightforward for fiction/fantasy…odd street preacher, abruptly released mental patients, organized crime, samurai in red robes, flickering main character…and then things get weird. The first half was excellent, the next quarter was good, but the final quarter seemed more an exercise in cleverness than wrapping up the plot. Though, to be fair, I’m not 100% sure what really happened on the final page or to Boyd. A good read for people comfortable with multiple, non-linear plots and ambiguity. Not recommended for point A to point Z readers.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peter Hollo

    What a remarkable book. Buying a book online because you follow the author on Twitter isn't necessarily a great strategy, but it sounded interesting, and interesting it was! I didn't quite believe that it would be as radical in its structure and referentiality as it has been suggested, but it really is. It's very carefully constructed, and each reveal is wonderfully performed. It's ridiculously thick and dense, but I was gripped all the way through, and its deep humanity is reliably warming What a remarkable book. Buying a book online because you follow the author on Twitter isn't necessarily a great strategy, but it sounded interesting, and interesting it was! I didn't quite believe that it would be as radical in its structure and referentiality as it has been suggested, but it really is. It's very carefully constructed, and each reveal is wonderfully performed. It's ridiculously thick and dense, but I was gripped all the way through, and its deep humanity is reliably warming throughout. What a joy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Larsen

    What a wild ride. Father Julius, Gordy-Gord, Donk, Bailey, the Andrews, Morris, and more populate this imaginative, gravity-defying, dimension-bending novel. My gut tells me The Revisionaries might not hit The NY Times lists anytime soon, but will slowly gain traction/readers/popularity over time, much like a sardine-sized wave gaining strength in the distance. Also, I'd like to know where I can get my feet into a pair of Sandals Julius.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This book won't be for everyone, but it was definitely for me. Fantastic. I can't believe this is a first novel. Reminiscent, in part, of Harkaway's Gnomon, some Eco (Island of the Day Before?), with a little surreal VanderMeer mixed in. But totally unique in my experience.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Remember that time when the Scooby Doo gang got sucked into the video game only to get lost in the funhouse and Fred pulled the mask off the phantom creeper only to reveal Fred? No? Maybe? How can you be certain that it didnt happen that way? Questions and more questions. The Revisionaries by A.R. Moxon is like piling into the Mystery Machine and blindsiding conventional story telling in a county fair demolition derby. The novel, if it really is a novel, is layered like a Scooby Doo villain. Remember that time when the Scooby Doo gang got sucked into the video game only to get lost in the funhouse and Fred pulled the mask off the phantom creeper only to reveal Fred? No? Maybe? How can you be certain that it didn’t happen that way? Questions and more questions. The Revisionaries by A.R. Moxon is like piling into the Mystery Machine and blindsiding conventional story telling in a county fair demolition derby. The novel, if it really is a novel, is layered like a Scooby Doo villain. Pulling the mask off the bad guy just reveals another bad guy in a room full of mirrors asking another set of questions. Where does it end? Where does it begin? Well this mobius strip starts somewhere in the middle as a revenge thriller and then veers philosophically toward ontology and epistemology always sticking to the fringes. The settings are self-contained yet luridly drawn like from a travelling circus. There are horrors and cringes galore. Moxon creates broken characters and features them in a high wire act with the ease and confidence of a tightrope walker. He has the accuracy of the knife thrower and the patter and rhythm of any good carnival barker. You can’t skim through this novel, it’s a strap yourself in and enjoy the ride because you’re not getting out until it’s over story, and maybe not even then.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    Count the number of times he compares something to an engorged tick. Count the number of times he uses the word "runnel" instead of a readily available synonym. There are ways to do good verbose writing, but this ain't one. Also, if "Landrude Markson" was supposed to be a clever or surprising way of disguising his own name (Andrew Moxon), it wasn't. If you're gonna put yourself in your book, just fucking put yourself in your book, dude.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    3.5 Rounding down. I went between periods of thinking this book was a stroke of genius and thinking it was overcomplicated for the sake of being overcomplicated. The Revisionaries will certainly mess with your head and your conception of time. Though not necessarily a time "travel" novel, it does have some similar elements. Definitely warrants a second read for better understanding and appreciation on my part. Also. Goop Goop.

  22. 4 out of 5

    I kept feeling like there are too many words in this book. Reading it, I had an image of the author drifting into reveries of writerly power where he just cant stop stacking clauses. Hes giving you metaphor after metaphor, image after image, detail after detail, if that one didnt work for you no worries cuz hes got four more coming. I feel like a more assured writer can just hit you with that one image that tells you all you need to know about the situation but with this book it felt like so I kept feeling like there are too many words in this book. Reading it, I had an image of the author drifting into reveries of writerly power where he just can’t stop stacking clauses. He’s giving you metaphor after metaphor, image after image, detail after detail, if that one didn’t work for you no worries cuz he’s got four more coming. I feel like a more assured writer can just hit you with that one image that tells you all you need to know about the situation but with this book it felt like so many words were amounting to too little, and when the book is already so lengthy I found myself wishing that we could speed things along, at least on a sentence-to-sentence level.¹ I guess all my thoughts about The Revisionaries stem from the features of the writing—did anyone else find the repeated use of alliteration kind of maddening? Moxon lampshades himself early-on by writing "the collective cadre of cardinals come capering, carve our corpuscles into cutlets, careful, caution, consider, you’re alliterally going crazy here…” which is a cute joke sure, but then it keeps happening, and by the end when he drops “red-eyed rage” and “purposeful paws” in the same sentence (oops—I guess some alliteration is ‘ard to avoid) I felt we definitely have a serial alliterator on our hands. I’d always thought that was bad practice, but maybe that’s just me parroting received wisdom; I’m not sure. Either way, it certainly pulled me out of the happenings of the story and into the machinery of the writing, and I don’t think that’s what you want as a writer, even in a book about writing such as this. It’s funny, I thought having a big Twitter following would be a huge advantage when it comes to debuting a book, and I’m sure it does as far as the getting published side of things, but it seems like a disadvantage as far as everything else (J.K. Rowling could tell you that; or she ought to, anyways). As it turns out, your online presence ends up constituting a body of work, and I found myself thinking of Moxon’s work on Twitter and his blog while reading his book. A thoughtful reflection on jogging? Oh right, I saw that he runs 10Ks somewhere online, I’m glad that made it in. And there’s this thing Moxon does, where he’ll do a run of longer sentences, really work a paragraph up with some intrigue and body, and then he’ll hit you with an isolated sentence. Just like this. And effective as it is, I did find myself thinking, 'Ooh, I recognize this trick from the blogs,' which, like the alliterations, speaks to a breach in my immersion as reader. It’s not always a disadvantage though—in one of my favorite parts of the book, one of the characters gives a thorough rundown on dimensionality, and here too I found myself thinking of Moxon’s online work—specifically, his great ability to explain tricky concepts with total clarity. Reading this section, I felt I was witnessing an author in the pocket, A.R. Moxon doing what A.R. Moxon does best, and I was reminded of what made me want to pick up this book in the first place. He’s an excellent writer, lest my review convince you otherwise, and I wouldn’t have gotten this book day-1 if it wasn’t for the strength of his work online. And I’ll be getting the next book first day too, by the way. I know I just spent a lot of time harshing the high that is The Revisionaries, so I want to end by saying there is no way I can stay mad at a book this ambitious and strange. It plays with the boundaries and limitations of the novel in ways you can only really understand if you’ve read it, and though it was often frustrating to read, I kept turning pages because I had to see how you’d end something this off-the-rails. Rather abruptly, as it turns out. HAH! Sorry. I’m a shady lady, through and through. ¹ That was a mean thing to say, so I’d like to provide at least one receipt. I wish I took notes while reading the book, but then again isolating a few passages here wouldn’t communicate the effect—it’s more a culmination of instances than select egregious cases. I’d say the passages in the second section of the book, in which one of the protagonists traverses an arcade and fairgrounds, provide good examples of what I’m talking about—at least here Moxon’s more-is-more approach means to amount to an effect (the sensory overload places like these evoke in their patrons), and yet, it was a few hundred words to tell you that it was your average, if effusively described, fairground. The sentences following actually give a nice example in miniature of what I’m talking about. They go, “Gordy revels. He wanders and dawdles and gapes. He has found the impossible passage, has come through the unlikeliest doorway, the one all children instinctively look for; he has fallen up into the sky, into some wonderful other world; he has somehow managed to climb onto a cloud.” Not content with just a single verb, Moxon gives you four. Then, Gordy didn’t just find “the impossible passage,” Moxon’s gonna hit you with “the unlikeliest doorway” just to be sure. And check that semicolon at the end there; gotta hit the button on all that imagery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    C.M. Skiera

    The Revisionaries by A. R. Moxon is honestly not like any other book I've read, which also makes it difficult to review. I wavered between 4 and 5 stars, and may revisit my vote after the complex story has had a chance to sink in. With a viciously fluid plot and imagination cranked to 11, The Revisionaries reminds me of some of my favorite books, such as Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, Neal Stephenson's Anathem, Christopher Moore's Lamb, and Rick Wayne's Fantasmagoria; yet Moxon's originality defies The Revisionaries by A. R. Moxon is honestly not like any other book I've read, which also makes it difficult to review. I wavered between 4 and 5 stars, and may revisit my vote after the complex story has had a chance to sink in. With a viciously fluid plot and imagination cranked to 11, The Revisionaries reminds me of some of my favorite books, such as Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, Neal Stephenson's Anathem, Christopher Moore's Lamb, and Rick Wayne's Fantasmagoria; yet Moxon's originality defies true comparison. Without a doubt, this book gets an A+ for effort, as an insane amount of work shines through every part of the story--event the font selections. This is a challenging read, with more moving parts than a Rube Goldberg machine and nearly every aspect of the story "subject to infinite change." The Revisionaries is an entertaining page-turner with memorable characters and exceptional prose. The vivid tale evokes a plethora of emotions, often brutally dark one moment and absurdly hilarious the next, occasionally both simultaneously. The one nagging issue that haunted me throughout was the thought that Moxon was writing an awful lot of checks that would need to be cashed by the end. Alas, by the grand finale, not every question was answered (or at least not spelled out plainly enough for this simple reader), thus my wavering from a true 5-star read. Certainly, The Revisionaries is a book I enjoyed and will never forget.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Constance McKee

    This is an odd, very long fantasy novel that is hard to summarize, but I'll try. It takes place in a weirdly altered Pigeon Forge and Knoxville, TN. There is an odd assortment of characters without a clear protagonist. Among the candidates for that role are a fake priest; a trio consisting of a woman and two men who are working for a gangster in order to eventually kill him to avenge the death of one of their brothers; a young man with superpowers who can disappear; the fictional author of the This is an odd, very long fantasy novel that is hard to summarize, but I'll try. It takes place in a weirdly altered Pigeon Forge and Knoxville, TN. There is an odd assortment of characters without a clear protagonist. Among the candidates for that role are a fake priest; a trio consisting of a woman and two men who are working for a gangster in order to eventually kill him to avenge the death of one of their brothers; a young man with superpowers who can disappear; the fictional author of the tale and his double; and a bearded female trapeze artist. In addition, there are many other characters. What struck me most about the book was the impressive literary skills of the real author, Moxon. His descriptions and imagination are nearly breathtaking at times. On the other hand, the plot was very confusing. If I were motivated to understand it better, I'd need to outline it. The story is nonlinear and the various point of view sections alternate rapidly with no clear indication of who is speaking or when. Sometimes the sections end in mid-sentence. This is not light reading. Nevertheless, the story pulled me in enough that I wanted to find out what happened, even if I'm still not sure I understand it. It's different and interesting, and I'm glad I read it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Will

    It was beautifully written. It was too convoluted. It was entertaining. It was a mental catastrophe. It was the Old Testament as told by someone on LSD. I really cant figure out what to think of the book overall, so Ill describe how I felt about it chronologically. The first hundred or so pages: this is a great book about poverty and slum life and lost religion. Its a social commentary thats darkly hilarious and I cant stop reading it. The next two hundred pages: its....a book about revisionist It was beautifully written. It was too convoluted. It was entertaining. It was a mental catastrophe. It was the Old Testament as told by someone on LSD. I really can’t figure out what to think of the book overall, so I’ll describe how I felt about it chronologically. The first hundred or so pages: this is a great book about poverty and slum life and lost religion. It’s a social commentary that’s darkly hilarious and I can’t stop reading it. The next two hundred pages: it’s....a book about revisionist history? A criticism on how biased historical teaching can be? Oh, wait, now there’s magic and cult stuff happening... The next hundred and fifty pages: ok, so this is basically “Sophie’s World” where the characters have a life of their own and try to usurp the author. Still some Biblical-religious analogies thrown in to tackle the idea of free will. Ok, I’m still enjoying it.... The rest of the book: when will this convoluted, self indulgent mess ever end? Still, I couldn’t stop reading it and, despite the fact that it’s a touch too much of a tangled mess for me, the writing itself is the most vivid, colorful, and creative that I’ve ever read. Not to mention the subtler themes and hidden references to other works and cultural memes. So, for all that, 4 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chrystal Hays

    This is a peculiar book. Hard to peg genre, as it is rife with humor, uses language brilliantly, includes horror elements, and ventures towards fantasy. It contains some major surprises if read cold. I don't read reviews first, in other words. I had to remove stars for the heavy use of the second person voice. A little bit is okay. Too much is intrusive and has me wanting to start skimming in hope it will end soon. We know the character. Just let us read comfortably? I truly don't understand why This is a peculiar book. Hard to peg genre, as it is rife with humor, uses language brilliantly, includes horror elements, and ventures towards fantasy. It contains some major surprises if read cold. I don't read reviews first, in other words. I had to remove stars for the heavy use of the second person voice. A little bit is okay. Too much is intrusive and has me wanting to start skimming in hope it will end soon. We know the character. Just let us read comfortably? I truly don't understand why the point of view switch to 2nd person was used at all. However, it's not a reason to skip this book. This is not a casual read. There are a lot of balls in the air. Also, I will note that the early language can be off putting to some. It's not vulgar. You learn the reason for it and adjust over time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jemms

    I loved this book. The story is kind-bending with many different threads that will keep you engaged until the very end. The characters are interesting and enough thought is given to each one, that you care about their fate in equal measure. What I am most impressed with, is that the mystery is not stretched out beyond the point of caring. There is a very thin line between keeping the reader interested and bored and I think Moxon manages to successfully give us enough answers to keep reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    James Brechtel

    Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a challenging read and it will be a challenging period while I think through everything that happened and really try to piece together the meanings. Was it fully consistent with its crazy metaphysics and twisty narrative? No idea. It seemed to be and that alone was impressive. The fact that such a self referential and dense plot was even a little entertaining, even enthralling at times, is a real testament to the quality of this work. Great book. Tough Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a challenging read and it will be a challenging period while I think through everything that happened and really try to piece together the meanings. Was it fully consistent with its crazy metaphysics and twisty narrative? No idea. It seemed to be and that alone was impressive. The fact that such a self referential and dense plot was even a little entertaining, even enthralling at times, is a real testament to the quality of this work. Great book. Tough read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Keith Ammann

    I'd like to give this book a rating, but I can't. I judge creative works on the basis of whether the creator did what they were trying to do and whether it was worth doing. After reading this book, I honestly don't know what A.R. Moxon was trying to do when he wrote it. I therefore have no basis for judging whether he did it or whether it was worth doing. I will say that the lightweight sans serif font he uses in certain sections was very hard on my eyes, although that may have been the page I'd like to give this book a rating, but I can't. I judge creative works on the basis of whether the creator did what they were trying to do and whether it was worth doing. After reading this book, I honestly don't know what A.R. Moxon was trying to do when he wrote it. I therefore have no basis for judging whether he did it or whether it was worth doing. I will say that the lightweight sans serif font he uses in certain sections was very hard on my eyes, although that may have been the page designer's decision, not his.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    On the lookout for a long, involved story? Love that meta fiction? Not put off by weird stuff happening in somewhat realistic settings? Moxon obliges with a hefty, sometimes frustrating first novel. Generally I blame fame when an editor lets an author get away with overlong unnecessary exposition, but clearly that didn't happen here. However, with the local libraries closed I had plenty of motivation to keep on reading and was glad that I did. Amazon still delivers...

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