The Revisionist (Short Novelette)
Author: Bill Blais
Synopsis: Frank is a professor of Literature at a local community college with dreams of becoming a New York Times Bestselling author. His anger and disillusionment grows stronger with each rejection he receives. With his fiftieth birthday just around the corner, the last thing Frank wanted to hear was how Cole, one of the new adjuncts, just received the biggest publishing deal ever made with Random House for yet another book about vampires. His anger intensifies as he thinks of the injustice of yet another mediocre wanna-be author who barely understands the craft of writing or has any respect for traditional literature, receiving the money, the accolades, and the movie deals he deserves. Frank’s emotions have not only grown out of control but he soon discovers the other changes he has been experiencing—sensitivity to bright lights, increased strength—have turned him into something he cannot bring himself to believe. What’s worse is that Cole plays a bigger part in his life than he had realized.
Review: “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia,” I don’t think a quote ever fit a story quite as well as the one by E.L. Doctorow. He wasn’t describing The Revisionist but he might as well have. Now, I am not a huge fan of short stories. I have read a good amount of them through reviewing work for various authors and have only come to really love a few. I’ve also been stuck with stale and predictable books as of late so I was a bit hesitant to jump into a short story. When I bought The Revisionist I hadn’t really known what to expect. The synopsis made the novelette sound as if the main character, Frank, basically losses his mind and in part, that is true. But I was even more surprised at the twist as to why Frank losses his mind!
Frank is bitter, resentful, jealous, petty, and in desperate need of a therapist (and a straightjacket!). He has spent years attempting to have his short stories and a novel published but has only found success a handful of times. To the publishing world, it’s not exactly noteworthy success. Blais hit Frank’s character right on the nail. He created a character not only every writer could relate to but every writer’s alter ego looks like (whether they want to admit it or not). I often found myself in complete agreement with Frank’s monologues of how the publishing industry works and the battle between something being published based on talent and something being published based on trend. Not exactly what any writer wants to admit to thinking or behaving like but truth be told, at one point or another every writer feels as disillusioned as Frank.
Cole is everything Frank isn’t. Young, charming, instantly fawned over by women and students, and everything comes easily to him. He doesn’t really have a work ethic, caring more about how much his students like him instead of how much they are actually learning. His talent is based more on the latest trend than actually understanding the craft and Cole is as much cocky as Frank is angry.
Blais captured the dynamic of Frank and Cole’s relationship, the battle between ego’s, the battle between talent and trend, and the battle between truth and fiction wonderfully. The twist as to why Frank suddenly develops such drastic new changes was one of the best parts!
The story is written with a dark and poetic voice. The suspense is crisp and intense. From the moment you start reading, you won’t be able to stop until you know how it ends!
And Blais managed to do all that with only FORTY PAGES!
I am in DESPARATE need of more and DEMAND this short novelette be turned into a full-length novel AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
As for fans of the fantasy, supernatural, and thriller genres, you should DEFINITELY jump right into this short story! I am sure you will come to love it as much as I have!
If not . . . well, Frank could pay you a visit to change your mind but I don’t think you would want that to happen *wink wink*
About the Author: Bill Blais is a writer, web developer and perennial part-time college instructor. His novels includeWitness (winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Fantasy) and the first two books in the Kelly & Umber series(No Good Deed and Hell Hath No Fury).
Bill graduated from Skidmore College before earning an MA in Medieval Studies from University College London. He lives in Maine with his wife and daughter.
Where to Find the Author