Click through to read the full review of Miranda Mellis’ THE REVISIONIST, the twenty-fifth in this full-press review of Calamari books.
THE REVISIONIST is a wonderful book perfectly hinged on tangents, each page taking its shape from the last, bleeding between boundaries and lines to create a narrative that is both as forceful as a river and as placid as a lake, a clear illustration of Miranda Mellis’ talent.
Her skin hung from her bones in the shape of despondency. Her head-wrap of fleecy beard-hair gave her an irresponsible look. Her clothes sagged. Her socks slid helplessly away from her feet. Even her underwear glissaded down like a dirty, abandoned wedding train behind her, drained of all proportion and propriety. All dropping, she slimed down the street like oil. She hated how everything had collapsed-without the helicoptering arms even, of drowning humans, or any of the fanfare associated with will-into the shape of what was nearby.
The protagonist, our ‘revisionist’, is housed in a lighthouse with a wealth of equipment purposed for reporting on the weather, but in fact, used to peer inside of a nuclear-bombed world, a society that needs to be told it is doing okay, that all is well, even with the overwhelming pollution and the mutation of children and the severe wreckage of their holocaust world.
In the past, when something fell out of the sky, or there were collisions, men in jumpsuits arrived, sirens blaring, to erase all traces. Something was always done about something. Now nothing was done, except documentation. For every event, there were multiple documents and artifacts, until there were more documents and artifacts than events. Inevitably, someone called a document an event, and people made documents of documents.
And while equipment limits the initial observations to what is seen and heard from afar, a later training session provides the narrator with telepathy skills, and we are driven even farther inside of a rotting world, given then not only visual observations and snippets of dialogue but internal monologues and confused desires, every fiber of a broken world viewed from a safe pedestal, a singular home from which each disaster needs revising.
After a long hiatus, I delivered a one-hundred and seventy-eight page summary of my ‘findings’ that stated in its conclusion: ‘Continuing growth in greenhouse gas emissions is leading to a higher standard of living that will result in a global utopia by the end of the century.’ The president quoted liberally from my report, hailing it as an objective docket.
As THE REVISIONIST concludes, reminders of the lighthouse and the telescope, the narrator and the job of revising a decimated world into positive and digestible data, become fewer and farther between, and the book tightens hopelessly (and delightfully) into a pinging spiral shape, circles on circles that squeeze until we are all not looking through a glass but into the mind of a world gone horribly, terribly awry.
Copies of this book are available here.
Next up: 3RD BED , Robert Lopez’s PART OF THIS WORLD, & SLEEPINGFISH 0.9375.