Category Archives: Picaresque

Revelations by Sandy Cohen

Revelations Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Action, adventure, exotic locales, and an irreverent often slapstick sense of humor mark Sandy Cohen’s imaginative LOL novel, Revelations. Manny, or “Manny-Man” Markovitz, as Abis, the rather oddball new friend and guide Manny encounters on his Odyssian travels to Greece and south Georgia’s barrier islands, calls him, is the unlikely and frequently frazzled hero of Sandy Cohen’s book. Don’t pick up this book thinking that it is going to be about the biblical book of Revelations. It’s called Revelations because of the insights, or revelations, that Manny experiences when he realizes that life and even love can go on after the tragic death of his wife. In their search for Abis’s boss, Willy Love, Manny’s picaresque adventures with Abis are a revelatory way to enable Manny to let go of a large amount of accumulated emotional baggage– not to mention, also some actual baggage in Greece and Georgia.

Why should you be interested in immediately clicking at this site to purchase this wonderful book by Sandy Cohen, or rushing off to your nearest book store to buy it? Because it’s a quite funny novel, and Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers haven’t made funny movies for years, the Marx Brothers being sadly dead and Woody Allen sadly too often substituting intellectual insights for humor in his more recent movies. They’re still great entertainment, but not Take the Money and Run or Bananas. The humor of Sandy Cohen’s Revelations does sometimes rely on sexual innuendo or gross bodily functions, but that (whether intended or not) I took to be a sort of homage to the great 18th. century humorous novels by authors like Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding, not to mention (but I am) Miguel Cervantes. Smollett coincidently translated a version of Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Not to worry, though, if any of these references are a bit obscure or mean little or nothing to you. I’m just saying by referring to them that there is a long and important tradition of using sexual and scatological humor in literature, and Sandy Cohen is following in some very large and impressive footsteps in his also occasionally using this type of humor in Revelations. But, now that I have anaesthetized and pinned back the wings of the butterfly Lapidae humoris vulgaris, thus probably killing it in the attempt, what is Revelations about?

After his wife Sara dies, Manny, who is a professor, decides to follow the advice of some of his friends and colleagues and “take a sabbatical and travel.” And, where should this modern-day Odysseus journey to, other than “to the place of light, to Greece, to find some equilibrium in my life again.” He does just this, though the “equilibrium” he discovers there through his developing friendship with Abis at first seems to be more of a source of chaos than equilibrium. Abis seems, if anything, more to be a person to avoid rather than one to start palling around with.