Friday, October 4, 2019

"The Resurrectionist of Caligo"

Wendy Trimboli has never met a dense 19th century novel she didn't love, is blithely attracted to broken characters with downtrodden histories, and enjoys voluntarily running up mountains.

Alicia Zaloga believes reverse harems are absolutely charming, is completely suckered by impossibly competent protagonists, and fondly feeds an addiction to Korean dramas.

And yet, somehow they write books together ... most recently, The Resurrectionist of Caligo.

Trimboli and Zaloga applied the Page 69 Test to The Resurrectionist of Caligo and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Tell you what. You take these winkles and get yourself a stargazy pie down at the Fox & Weasel. Know where that is?” She nodded and snatched the coin from his hand as quick as any pickpocket. “Once I’ve popped back to my room to lose this bleeding staff and fetch my… [pg 69 begins here] surgical instruments, I’ll find you at the pub, and you’ll show me to your ma. Is it a plan?”

“You better not be late again.” Ada pocketed the coins. “Or else I’ll boil your clothes into lye mush.”


Yes, our page 69 falls at the end of a chapter and is mostly blank space. How awkward! …or is it? We’ve added a bit of 68 for context, but even with a mere two paragraphs we’ve managed to write [checks notes] two paragraphs! What a random, crazy happenstance.

This short exchange on page 69 highlights a special relationship at the heart of our novel. Roger Weathersby, resurrectionist and “Man of Science”, has befriended a ferocious waif named Ada and reluctantly takes on a surrogate parental role. These two represent the lowest social strata within the fictional city of Caligo. Roger scrapes out a living selling fresh corpses to medical schools. Meanwhile Ada, a laundry worker by day, calls herself Ghostofmary and haunts the necropolis by night. Roger and Ada’s circumstances form a counterweight to the country’s luxurious, literally magical world of nobles and royals.

Their hesitant, even combative initial relationship also becomes a cornerstone of character growth for Roger. Until now he’s been altruistic on a theoretical level, set on his (unrealistic?) goal of becoming a surgeon. He’s used to managing cadavers, not nine-year-old girls. Ironically, Ada occasionally flips the parental role and cares for him, though he doesn’t realize it. It’s happening in the excerpt above, when Ada chastises Roger about being habitually late—seriously, the man has a problem. Roger’s fear of failing Ada grows over time, and sometimes drives him to act rashly on emotions instead of reason. As some wise man once said, “the power of love is a curious thing.” [checks notes] Plato, probably.
Visit Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Resurrectionist of Caligo.

--Marshal Zeringue