At the turn of the century, Brendan Keneally brings along most of the residents of the Irish hamlet of Carrigdhoun to Vancouver, where they're all to live in the Edenic community of the ""Revelations Colony of Truth."" Knowing a few very special magic tricks, plus having a scrotum like ""a bag of turnips"" as well as an unalloyed self-confidence, Keneally is able to fashion his little colony into an expression of his own will and philosophy, thereby ""inventing"" the world anew. These Messianic colonies were not uncommon in Canada, and Canadian author Hodgins uses the idea less for its own intrinsic worth than to play it off against later, more contemporary developments: Maggie Kyle, a former ""logger's whore"" who has given up the bush, buys the old Keneally spread and turns it into The Revelations Trailer Camp. This is a dreamy book, very oblique. Working with characters who come to us already filled-up to the brim--characters who are characters--Hodgins shows that he isn't interested in transformation as much as geometric arrangement. Even his prose, which is reminiscent, artfully, of Wright Morris', has a sort of stanza-like quality: it recapitulates, it blocks itself into units. The first half here works best; the contemporary material is too bright and hard. But if Hodgins' reach in this unrushed, circling book is a little longer than his grasp, he is nevertheless a welcome new voice--complex, humored, scoring a more than respectable number of points while managing to be about very little. Just like the world.