I picked up A.R. Moxon’s “The Revisionaries” because it had a glowing blurb from the brilliant Sergio de la Pava on its cover, and one great way to get me to read a book over 600 pages long is to earn an endorsement from someone else that has written a long and genius novel (in de la Pava’s case, two of them). Another way is to put half a cat on the cover of your book (“Where’s the other half of the cat?!” I’ll inevitably wonder. “Is it ok?” I’ll ask anyone in proximity.) as Moxon’s publisher did with the hardback edition. Yet another way is to make it spectacularly zany and satirical but also high stakes and sometimes frightening and loaded with sentences bursting with the enthusiasm of a gifted writer precisely conveying the complex reality they’ve created. (There are awesome sentences.)
Revealing much of the plot might spoil the fun you’d have along the way, but among the seemingly infinite wild facets of this story is a preacher that likes denim so much he even runs in it. There is a mental institution that has freed its inmates, allowing them to run amuck in the city. There are tiny ninjas dressed in red. There is a boy that seems to flicker in and out of this reality, and he has a lottery ticket that makes him all-powerful. There is a man hunting him. There is a traveling circus with some dark secrets and a bearded lady who is also an astounding trapeze artist. There are multiple levels of reality and multiple fonts (including a sweet fading font). There are a lot of people trapped in oubliettes. There is a fountain that makes you forget everything, and a man who makes people drink from that fountain. There is a character who turns himself into sandals. There is an amusing three-panel comic. There, that should give you a vague idea of this novel’s feel.
Prior to the publication of his novel, Moxon had gained notoriety on the social media platform twitter.com (@juliusgoat). As social media lets you bother anyone, I asked my butler to ask his nephew to ask Moxon a question for me. While I squirreled myself away in my question chamber trying to craft the perfect question, my butler’s nephew sent him a “direct message” in which he asked: “Anything you’d like to say to an audience of nearly dozens?” Moxon generously responded with: “My message to the dozens: this novel needs you in order for it to be complete, and once you’re done with it I hope you understand why.”
You’ll understand. So, help out a novel in need: read it.