EJ DeSalvo's Revelations of a Resuscitated Mind is a psychosexual coming-of-age novel set in 1960s-70s New York. Both metaphysical thriller and black comedy, its protagonist, a born mystic, is a baby boomer obsessed with music and movies, sex and sin, and all things paranormal. More
EJ DeSalvo's Revelations of a Resuscitated Mind is a psychosexual coming-of-age novel which can also be read as a metaphysical thriller. Childhood and adolescence in 1960s-70s New York, this is the personal history of Bryan Tillman, from age five to age twenty. Born mystic, born misunderstood – Bryan would like to be a saint when he grows up. But he's also a baby boomer, obsessed by pop music, TV, cinema - sex and sin. For Bryan, singers and stars inspire like saints as supernatural forces and sexual orientation issues keep creeping closer and closer.
Themes: An emphasis on the “natural” in “supernatural”. Uncanny situations are treated with the naturalistic focus of ordinary day-to-day events – and psychology. The concept of what is real or imaginary suggests only the reader's subjectivity.
Structure: Each chapter, in chronological fashion, presents an age/time period in the protagonist's life. The narrative shifts back and forth in time before centering on a single storyline. Every chapter has two titles – first, the protagonist's age; second, a comment on content. As such, Chapter 1 is titled both “6” and “Kindergarten Apocalypse”.
Synopsis: Chapter 1: 6 / Kindergarten Apocalypse The world of Bryan Tillman is introduced. A ghostly encounter outwits a merry Christmas, and during a kindergarten event, Bryan enacts a secret revenge upon a class bully.
Chapter 2: 8 / The Cowl Bryan learns something dramatic about his own birth, and is thunderstruck by a “Holy Communion vision”. When he joins neighborhood “army” games, there's a price to pay – physically and emotionally.
Chapter 3: 9 / Before the Melting Candle Melts A family celebration is in full swing but Bryan wanders about alienated. Reading for refuge, he falls asleep as festive indigestion conspires to turn a celebration into a circus.
Chapter 4: 12 / Kidnappers As a newspaper boy, Bryan embraces independence. But being pursued by men in cars terrorizes him, and he flees in a frenzy of animal instinct.
Chapter 5: 13 / Guardian Angels A best friend suggests that “staying out all night” would be a true adventure. This 24-hour odyssey includes secrets, angels, and verbal jousts in dream states and while sleepwalking.
Chapter 6: 15 / The Banquet Getting lost in the forest of puberty – all wrong turns in the rite-of-passage lead to sex. For Bryan, an all-night party climaxes with a showdown.
Chapter 7: 17 / Skinned Apocalypse acne. Bryan is dominated by dermatology, drunk driving, primal rage, astral projection and a burst of violence.
Chapter 8: 19 / Where Infinity Finishes Family crisis helps trigger a religious conversion, and Bryan spends Christmas break in an evangelical commune. A “prayer meeting” catapults him into “infinity” but a diabolical encounter awaits in the dead of night.
Chapter 9: 20 / The Miracle of the Vine Miracles do happen, and also to Bryan Tillman. But the analysis of an actual miracle can't resolve his conflicts, but provides a peek into challenges yet to come.
Readers Advisory: Although a thriller, a mystery, this novel is not written as typical “genre” fiction. And it is not inspired by writers like Stephen King or JK Rowling. It certainly includes gay coming-of-age and gay coming-out issues. The author is not a member or affiliate of any religion or “spiritual” group and does not intend this novel to act as an endorsement of any kind of religion.
The Author: EJ DeSalvo (a pseudonym) is also a film, arts and travel writer. Revelations of a Resuscitated Mind is his first novel. Born in New York City, he received a BA and MA in English from the University of Minnesota, and currently resides in Milan, Italy. He is set to publish a book of poems (Unreasonable Reincarnation) followed by an “unofficial” sequel to Revelations of a Resuscitated Mind, a three-act play entitled, Raping Riddles.