The Book of Revelation

Rupert Thomson, Author
Rupert Thomson, Author Alfred A. Knopf $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-375-40927-1
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-375-70845-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7475-4569-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-05950-4
Hardcover - 276 pages - 978-0-7475-8475-9
Hardcover - 220 pages - 978-0-7475-4439-5
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-1-4088-3323-0
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Thomson, a brilliant Londoner, certainly never writes the same book twice. Air and Fire was a wonderfully ambient tropical adventure, Soft a devastating contemporary London thriller. Revelation which resembles his previous novel, The Insult, more than either of these, ponders the consequences of an extreme episode in the life of an attractive (and unnamed) English ballet dancer and choreographer working in Amsterdam. One day, on a brief sortie to buy cigarettes for his lovely girlfriend, he is abducted by three mysterious masked women and held for nearly three weeks as a chained sexual slave in a bright room somewhere in the city. He is tattooed, violated, painfully tethered by his penis. He fights to preserve his equilibrium, gives the women imaginary names, tries to memorize their bodies. Then, as suddenly and unexpectedly as he was taken, he is released and must resume his existence. But his life has been twisted out of joint--his girlfriend doesn't believe his story; he finds he cannot work and becomes obsessed with searching for the women. Aided by a sudden legacy, he travels the world for several years, a lonely and disaffected soul in search of an anchor. Finally, back in Amsterdam, thinking he has discovered one of his captors, he assaults a girl in a club and is arrested. All this is conveyed in Thomson's usual fluent and riveting style, and the effect is mesmerizing. It is also affectless, however, for once the gripping sex-slavery episode is over, the book seems like a long anticlimax, which is concluded in a peculiarly unsatisfying way. Thomson can never be dull, and the notion of a man trying to recover from the consequences of rape is an intriguing one. Despite this narrative's glittering surface, however, it is not one of his sharper efforts. (Feb.)
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