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'My name is Raphael Ignatius Phoenix and I am a hundred years old or will be in ten days' time in the early hours of January 1st 2000 when I kill myself'Raphael Ignatius Phoenix has had enough Born at the beginning of the 20th century he is determined to take his own life as the old millennium ends and the new one begins But before he ends it all he wants to get his affairs in order and put the record straight and that includes making sense of his own long life a life that spanned the century He decides to write it all down and eschewing the usual method of pen and paper begins to record his story on the walls of the isolated castle that is his final home Beginning with a fateful first adventure with Emily the childhood friend who would become his constant companion Raphael remembers the multitude of experiences the myriad encounters and of course the ten murders he committed along the way And so begins one man's wholly unorthodox account of the twentieth century or certainly his own riotous often outrageous somewhat unreliable and undoubtedly singular interpretation of it


10 thoughts on “The Final Testimony of Raphael Ignatius Phoenix

  1. says:

    Think of Forrest Gump But in backwardwith every meaning of BackwardWhere Life is not like a box of Chocolate it's like a box of deathly bullets You never know WHO are you gonna give Oh and a PillNot only bullets 10 to be exactthere's also The Pill One and half grains of strychnine one and half grains of arsenic half a grain of salt of hydrocyanic acid and half of a grain of crushed ipecacuanha rootWith this deathly Pill Raphael Ignatius Phoenix 'RIP' gonna end his lifeand as I said it's really like Forrest Gump just in backward First Backward You see He's Telling his story in actual backwardWell actually he's writing it on a vast white walls of a castle's rooms he's living in just like old Egyptian Pharaohs 'I guess Paul Sussman really was inspired by the Egyptology from very early stage of his writings' He starts writing from his last event to the one next before 'yes this expressions you're gonna read at his tale' to the next before and so on till his birthIt was actually fun reminded me a bit of the way the movie Memento 2000 was going on every new scene is right next before too if that makes any senseThe bad thing that every chapter of his past life is followed by a notes chapter of how he has written the previous chapter and the current day of his last 10It was fun idea of writing on the walls but he made me suffer how he thought about that all which takes long pagesbut after was good chapters break just some of it was longer than the story needed Second Backward As I said RIP 's life is not a box of Chocolate every chapter of his life every choice is not sweet one it Always ends by a murderWell not by gun never by a weapon and he mostly didn't intended to do most of his ten murderers It just happened half of them were actually ridiculous for me I won't spoil it for you but when you think of the lives of those who got murdered it was also ridiculous enoughthey didn't live their life right and that was just like a karmaI hated RIP for the chapter of murdering lord Slaggsby he was so much ridiculous than ever at this oneBut with the albino twins God that was so brutal but I loved the symbol and metaphor of this particular story it was WWII people and countries were brutal and brothers killing each others And was nice metaphor when he mentioned in his notes chapter that he write this story the hardest way in the cellar and it 'devoured' pens than any other story just as war devoured both resources and livesThere's also the metaphor of the nosy annoying woman who took writing space than it should I see it as a symbol of how we sometimes gives unworthy interests than it should deserve wasting time of our livesOther murders comes just right for me as the conspiracy theories paranoid man who get a grand finale for his warnings propaganda lifeMurders also fit perfectly to the time or era it happened onit was so much fun look back at the last century with its many different styles and events although I craved for Ah one last thing at this point he actually used a weapon onceit was a Catapult I know he's just 100 years old not 1000 But you know strange # T happens in life Third Backward Yeah he's 100 years old or will be at 10 days after the beginning of the novelSo He's not going into new chapter of his life like Gump He's about ending it by the Pill I talked about so it's not just 10 murdersHe is gonna be the eleventh and the final oneSo it's his suicide noteAnd His Past Story which after all can be consider some how a new chapter of lifein backward tooThe past it would seem is every bit as mysterious as the future every bit as uncertain and pregnant with opportunity I might only have seven days left in front of me but behind there's a whole life waiting to be livedSomehow I didn't like much the ending I was expecting than the very expected one I just gotit was a new Millennium too I wanted but it's lifece la vie Finally So 3 Backwardsyou might ask Why did I like it enough to compare it to Forrest Gump? one of my favorite moviesOr rate it 4 ٍStars? well it was 3 actually but when I look back and think about it and its symbols I've just mentioned and the believe that if MrPaul Sussman was alive and revised his manuscript he had written by the mid nineties and never complete it for he turned his writings into thrillers and Egyptian Inspector Yousif Khalifa's series I think he'd have made it a real masterpiece with symbols better editing and wit endingsThe writing was so fun at many parts dull at other few super hard sophisticated vocabulary sometimes I think it's English Writer's Issue But the thing I really like is the emotional parts of the storyThe story of EmilyIt was vague somehow but really touching and moving till the very end of the novelReminded me a bit of Gump's love story in the movie just backward too somehow or the story of Dr Refaat Ismael and Maggie Maculub From an Arabic novels series in some pointsThat kind of sweet unreachable love which can be also useful and encouraging at the same time For RIP when he felt he hit the very lowest bottom in his life she always gives him a hand to get him on his feet again To start over welluntil he blows his new opportunity again by a murderAnd just I got to mention that what made it pleasant read I imagined those awesome great talented stars for the roles of Raphael and Emily over the yearsTill The Very End of Timeand BeyondOpportunity of lifeHow many bright futures have I scuppered by murdering people? Then again how many bright futures have I opened up by doing exactly the same thing? Well this line is so fit the The Life of RIP it's back to the chocolates box theory but in backward of courseAnd as I said it's those who give up to life to take its course without their good lead to it those who make their life really ridicules It's A Novel about Life and Death and all points in between Well the tag line of the novel didn't lie about thatThe touch of sweet Nostalgia Emily About RIP's Father I liked him He was a very interesting manRIP I suppose he was I never really thought about it That's the way of these things You only really fully appreciate people when they're dead Life clouds your judgementHis memory of his father by the end was very touching too gave me a teary eyes and so hard nostalgic feelingEven the visits of the Doctor who provides him supplies was the very touching part by the endHis sad partsand his early story that you'll counter by the end may makes you feel bit better about RIP who I guess I hated him so much in many parts of the novel but I felt sorry for him latereven liked himliked his tale after all liked his notes and his Final Testimony The Final Testimony of Raphael Ignatius PhoenixMohammed ArabeyRead from25 Oct 2014To 2 Nov 2014


  2. says:

    What an original and delightful book this is It languished in the author’s desk after being rejected yet again it astonishes me just how short sighted publishers can be until after his all too early death when his wife retrieved it and prepared it for publication Paul Sussman had gone on to write some well received detective novels but this first book is uite different – uirky slightly surreal and absurd but rooted firmly enough in reality to make both plot and main character easy to believe in It’s the story of Raphael Phoenix born at the turn of the nineteenth century and planning his death for the turn of the twentieth something he intends to do in a uite unorthodox way But then his whole life has been pretty unorthodox and as he writes his account of it before committing suicide we go back in time to learn how he became a serial killer – not that he intended being responsible for all those deaths I’m not going to say about the plot as part of the joy of reading this book is discovering what happensImaginative extremely well written with an admirable and impressive command of plot character and the narrative threads with each adventure or incident segueing effortlessly into the next it’s a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable book and one that deserves a wide readership


  3. says:

    As soon as I saw the title of this book The Final Testimony of Raphael Ignatius Phoenix – I knew I wanted to read it it’s as simple as that really I can’t tell you why I just did Maybe the title reminded me of one of my favourite films – The Princess Bride – and its main character Inigo Montoya who proclaimed that you killed his father prepare to die Maybe Raphael reminded me of Johnny Depp’s character in Don Juan de Marco – I have no idea Whatever the reason and granted neither of the two aforementioned characters have anything to do with the book I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have experienced such a magical and distinct voice in Raphael Ignatius Phoenixuite clearly – if you haven’t guessed by now – this is one of my favourite books and main protagonists I’ve had the pleasure in reading for a number of years this book – and Raphael will stay with me for some time to come What made the experience all the poignant is that I discovered the author Paul Sussman died in 2012 aged just 45 of a ruptured aneurysm a great loss to publishing I’ve not had the opportunity to read his other books but given that this his first novel shows so much strength and character I have no option other than to experience his later work One thing is certain that with this debut title he leaves an indelible mark on the literary worldRaphael has decided to kill himself on his 100th birthday Determined to leave a suicide note he begins to tell his story and slowly works his way back through the decades to his very first murder It’s a slow but imaginative process there’s a lot to tell It’s never rushed the narrative is both poignant and breath taking Sussman clearly knew how to write and what makes this title fascinating is that it was never published during his lifetimeAlong the way we meet numerous colourful characters and personalities but no one comes close to the power and hold Raphael has over the reader This is one guy who clearly has his head screwed on – or does he – and from a very early age he is on the move covering his tracks as best he can One scrape determines his journey each murder morphing seamlessly into the next adventureI really enjoyed how he told the story not from beginning to end as I expected but from Raphael’s final days to his very first breath Imaginative and well told this is one story that deserves to be read again and again


  4. says:

    I'm uite sad to have come to the end of the book it is one of those rare books for me which I wish would go on forever so delightful is its atmosphere and tone It is written in an engaging style and the narratorprotagonist is one of these anti heroes that are so endearing to the reader It is also very well crafted starting from the present time and spooling back into the past and it affords the reader an overview of the whole of the 20th century in England and the StatesMost of all it is an original story both funny and moving see blurb The only fault I can find with the book and that is the reason I didn't give it a full star rating is all the bits about writing itself which don't bring much and definitely slow down the story or at least break its momentum That could easily have been avoided with better editing But barring that it's a very enjoying novel I fully recommend it


  5. says:

    How truly incredible to believe that at one time the author Paul Sussman had given up on the manuscript for this book and after he sadly died in May 2012 we the reader had the good fortune that his wife picked it up again and co edited the final draft which portrays the magical humour of the authorRaphael Ignatius Phoenix RIP was born at the beginning of the 20th century and will be 100 years old as the millennium endsHe is determined to write his fantastical life story on the castle walls where he lives which includes 10 murders that he has committed before popping in a suicide pill a pill that he’s been carrying around for about 90 of those yearsI personally found this to be one of the most beautiful and satisfying of reads; the murders were inventive and humorous the antics of our anti hero were sublimely comical and the writing was so wonderful in that the pages simply raced byI didn’t want this hilarious ride to finish I really didn’tAnd the ending especially the relationship with Emily his childhood friendleaves you gasping Never expected that My goodnessI’m really sad that the experience has finishedPs What a beautiful cover on the hardback by the way


  6. says:

    I started out liking this book and by the end I could not wait to finish it and just be done I loved the initial story but nothing interesting ever happened really The ending in particular disappointed me as I kept hoping for a grand finish that essentially just flopped Complete waste of my time


  7. says:

    GoodnessWhat a weird wild and wonderful story Loses one star because I didn't enjoy the ending but otherwisewhat a blast


  8. says:

    Usually I distrust these novels with wordy titles They have a certain rhythm which you know when you see it; I’m sure some of them are well intentioned but many strike me as intended to catch the reader’s eye in a bookshop full of otherwise indistinguishable coloured spines So when I picked this up in my local library I thought this might be one of those But then I flicked through the pages at random and thought the writing was rather good uite funny A bit silly A bit lewd All things I like So I took it home And I enjoyed it very much I knew nothing about Paul Sussman beforehand so I was surprised to discover that before the main text comes a foreword In this he is introduced and it is explained to the reader that this book was not actually published in the author’s lifetime Begun in the early years of his career the manuscript was worked on over many years while he achieved some commercial and critical success with a series of four archaeological thrillers and though it appears to have been finished it was never considered for publication until after his recent sudden tragic death It’s worth noting that because I am insufferable and because I’d genuinely never heard of the author I had to look all this up after reading the foreword just to check that it wasn’t some kind of tricksy literary joke It is all trueThe book opens with Raphael Phoenix approaching his hundredth birthday at the turn of the millennium He tells the story in a narrative which he tells us he’s writing but which reads like a spoken story and he tells us many things — but principally he tells us about how he came to murder ten people over the course of a century The style is a loose rambling sort of picaresue a little like the larger than life biography of a Casanova or a Joseph Andrews It’s highly episodic and deliberately so in fact Phoenix goes to great lengths to describe how he is inscribing the tale as a long suicide note directly on the walls of his houseBeginning near the end of his life in a retirement home he tracks backwards through the 1900s; he fights in WWII is briefly a movie star at the birth of Hollywood and later a rock star in sixties London; but he also spends a great deal of time doing some of the most banal pointless and soul crushing work imaginable Apparently he has an awful lot of sex but has no real relationships beyond that which he shares with the mysterious Emily a childhood friend who seems to turn up at the conclusion of each seuence His ultimate intention is to swallow a poisoned pill at the moment he turns 100 a pill he has been carrying around with him for his entire life in anticipation of that momentI was really uite impressed by just how enjoyable this was to read Our narrator is basically a horrible person one who seizes every chance to leverage his current position for his own benefit and who does some pretty dreadful things to the people around him for no reason at all But as the lead character in a novel he is marvellously entertaining; indeed I found a Roald Dahl esue pleasure here in the suffering he inflicts on the world The whole thing is essentially absurd a sort of cartoon adventure and as a result I sometimes had the sense that it had been thrown together in a single great rush It is a confection I don’t know that it would bear up under much scrutiny But why bother when reading can be such fun?


  9. says:

    Lively fast paced and you cannot help but fall for Raphael Ignatius Phoenix


  10. says:

    The first thing that drew me to this novel was its spectacular cover but it was nothing compared to the curiosity that hit me when I read the first few lines of the synopsis I knew I wanted to read it and skipped over the rest of the synopsis which I now consider a good thing because everything was a surpriseThere is something spectacularly absurd about this novel Absurdist fiction explores human behaviour by placing the characters in circumstances that seem utterly without purpose and empty Look at Waiting for Godot a play in which two characters do nothing but wait for both acts There is no clear moral to Absurdist narratives there seems to be no overarching theme but rather there is just life and behaviour Raphael's life which is just one chapter after the other one murder after the other allows Sussman to show the reader a person who simply lives He doesn't seem to really react to what happens but rather he just acts while the world reacts around him Partially this makes Raphael a very unlikable person because he seems to be so completely unnatural It also makes him absolutely fascinating however because through him you're able to simply look at humans There are a lot of amazing moments in this novel that are so incredibly human in which people behave so naturally and everything they do is so recognizable This allows for the novel to be an amazing readI really enjoyed reading this novel It was a very uick read and a lot of fun The narrative constantly draws you in with its high pace story telling and beautiful writing style Despite the potentially gruesome subject the novel isn't too dark thanks to its humour I would recommend it to fans of Vonnegut but also generally to fans of Absurdist fictionFor full review