cover image The Revisionaries

The Revisionaries

A. R. Moxon. Melville House, $27.99 (608p) ISBN 978-1-61219-798-2

Moxon’s antic debut starts off anchored in a particular, if fantastic, place and time, and then dissolves into a less than coherent dissertation on authorship and free will. The first section is set in an inner-city neighborhood of an unnamed industrial city. Here the life of a street preacher with a mysterious source of funding intersects with those of a gang leader, an addled man searching for his son, a young man whose physical form is intermittently perceptible by the people he’s with, a bunch of red-clad ninjas, and the “loonies” newly released from the local mental institution and hopped up on amphetamines. The novel then jumps to an alternative history of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., from the 19th century up to the present, in which a lottery ticket and a fountain dispensing water with amnesiac properties figure prominently. Back in the city, it becomes evident that these characters are the creations of one or more authors, and may in fact be comic book cats. Even at more than 600 pages, the novel’s plot and characters remain curiously undeveloped, and the barrage of verbiage, on subjects such as the properties of the first 10 dimensions of existence, often spins in circles. Even the most patient readers may wish for things to speed up. (Dec.)