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Where's the Closure?!?

By:Roses, UK
Date:Wednesday 3 January 2007
Rating:   6

This one is a very, very strange little book indeed, and I have to say that my feelings about it changed an awful lot as I read it. Having had a little time to think it over, I have to say that this book had an awful lot of potential, but that it let itself down at several points and in others it just plain lost me.

First, let’s cover the nice things I can find to say about ‘The Revolution Man’. Well, the writing is very smooth and very easy to read and it really conveys the beauty to be found in the smallest things in life, which is something I’m really enjoying about the EDA’s. Most of the action takes place over 1967-1969 and the book really does take you back there, or at least, it does as far as I can tell being essentially a child of the eighties. The companions are both well represented, although I must admit that Sam annoys the hell out of me, and in no place more than in the section at the very end, on the other hand Fitz’s confused feelings are very believable and really draw you in to the book. Finally, the book had a couple of really great moments in it, in my opinion the best of which being the closing pages where the Doctor has no choice but to put a gun to someone’s head and shoot them.

However, even this moment has it’s problems, for one, the book wraps up almost immediately afterwards and doesn’t take advantage of the vast swathe of interesting emotional turmoil that would follow. In fact, the ending is one of my biggest problems with this novel: there is virtually no time for the reader to ‘unwind’ after the climax of the book as all the final pieces slot together and the whole thing begins to make sense together, and there is absolutely no closure, no wrapping up of all the thoughts and feelings and conflicts that have arisen over the course of the book, and this last point meant that I put the book down feeling vaguely discontent and unsatisfied. What I really would have liked to see is a scene at the end where the Doctor and Fitz finally manage a conversation and to have something in common: Fitz has been feeling alienated for the progress of the entire book, and by the end nothing has changed there. What it really could have done with is some resolution to that, and an opportunity to explore what’s going on inside the Doctor’s head after he’s taken a life.

There are also a couple of other problems I have with ‘The Revolution Man’ that are worth mentioning. The first is that towards the end of the book, things are getting awfully convoluted with regard to who’s been where and for how long and who’s working for who. As a result most of the main character’s motivations are very confused (here read Sam, Fitz and Maggie) and as a result the whole progress of the book in the build up to the climax is very confused and, indeed, confusing. Finally, it seems to me that a lot of this book is supposed to be written with the hazy, fluid, snatchy feeling of a drug trip, which makes perfect sense considering its subject, however in places I found that Leonard was asking me to suspend my disbelief just a little too much: the ‘Battle of the Giants over the Himalayas’ in Chapter Fourteen being the best example of this. I have to say that in places, it seemed almost like the author didn’t know where to stop with something and as a result often wandered into territory that was painfully trite or cliché, or just plain asking too much of his readers.

That said, ‘The Revolution Man’ wasn’t a bad read, and it certainly did have its moments, it just could have been so much better with a little more thought and a little more work in the editing process.

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