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1. From The Teeth Of Angels
2. After Silence
3. White Apples
4. Black Cocktail
5. The Stories in Between: A Between
6. The Ghost in Love: A Novel
7. The Land of Laughs: A Novel
8. A Child Across the Sky
9. The Panic Hand
10. Voice of Our Shadow (Fantasy Masterworks)
11. Glass Soup
12. Sleeping in Flame
13. Bones of the Moon
14. The Wooden Sea: A Novel
15. Conjunctions: 54, Shadow Selves
16. Outside the Dog Museum
17. The Marriage of Sticks
19. Kissing the Beehive
20. Weird Tales 299 (Winter 1990/1991)

1. From The Teeth Of Angels
by Jonathan Carroll
 Paperback: Pages (1995-06-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$39.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385476469
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A critically acclaimed novel explores the meaning of death through the intertwined fates of three characters--a man who meets Death in a dream, a film actress who gives up everything for her lover, and a terminally ill patient. Reprint. NYT. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite novel
If you haven't experienced a Jonathan Carroll novel yet, this is the one to start with.It is not only my favorite book by him, but it is my all time favorite. This is one of those that I wish I could give an extra star to as 5 stars doesn't even capture how truelly wonderful this book is.

It's hard to say what this book is about without giving away the story line.But basically, Death visits people in dreams and has conversations with them that affect their living lives.Not only is the plot an attention getter, but the ending is an amazing, thought provoking idea that still sticks with me 15 years later.

J. Carroll's books are not what I would call literary poetry, but rather visionary poetry.His books should be exprienced by all, especially this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcendant!
Occasionally a novel speaks to fundamental issues that transcend insight and enjoyment. This one did it for me. I don't like Sci-Fi or fantasy, but Carroll's work tears the fabric of reality and goes to one's unexpressible fear and longing to address primal concerns, not unlike the effect fairy tales have on children. Yet he does it in a world where the natural laws as I understand them apply.

Death is a character here and becomes frighteningly real but, miraculously, we're offered a way to triumph over him, if only for a time. And the way is as simple as child's play... literally.

4-0 out of 5 stars What if you could ask a question of Death?
Long time readers of my commentaries know of my fondness for Jonathan Carroll. He's one of the authors who I try to collect in first edition hardbacks, and I've even written an article in which I attempted to critically assay his entire ouvre. So when I say I enjoyed Carroll's latest, no one is surprised.

Trying to describe why I like Carroll's writing, however, I find myself somewhat tongue-tied. I tried to pinpoint in my article, "The Importance of Details," as a level of description that he perfectly captures, just the right amount of intimate knowledge of his characters that draws a reader in. Sometimes these details are extraordinary, sometimes mundane, but they are never uninteresting.

Thinking about it, I realize that I did leave something out of the article that explains a large part of the draw of his novels for myself. I guess I thought it obvious in context, yet I should explicitly state it--Carroll's novels are fantasies that have a basis in reality. Unlike some fantasy novels whose entire purpose is action/adventure, Carroll's stories are serious studies into the nature of being human through the analogy of the fantastic. The difference is like comparing "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to something like "Bladerunner." While both are well-made films starring Harrison Ford jumping about, one is simply a fun-filled rollercoaster, while the other asks "what is it to be human?" Only one truly lingers in the mind's eye.

From the Teeth of Angels is the last (supposedly) of the interconnected novels that began with Bones of the Moon, and it shows its thematic basis a little more so than others, as if Carroll was dashing this one off without veiling his purpose as much as he did in other books. It just doesn't take very long for you to figure out that From the Teeth of Angels is about Death. Carroll has side-swiped the issue in other books (specifically, Philip Strayhorn's suicide in A Child Across the Sky), but herein he tackles it headon. The premise is simple and silly out of context--what if you could ask questions of Death, yet suffer consequences if you don't understand the answers? A bizarre concept, yet Carroll makes it work because you believe in his characters, and once you believe in them, you believe in what is happening to them.

This got me to thinking about themes. What are the different ideas associated with the "Rondua" books? From the Teeth of Angels can only be about Death--it permeates the book. Bones of the Moon is about Guilt, I believe, specifically the guilt of a terminated relationship (in the extreme case there of an abortion). After Silence is about Trust, although it could be about Time as well. I think Trust because of the opening with the cartoonist wondering about his new girlfriend, and trying to gain the trust of her young son. The ending throws that theme off just slightly. Outside the Dog Museum, probably my pick for the worst of the lot, is about Glory. Carroll tries hard to portray the search for wonder, but when he separates it from conflict, it doesn't work quite as well. I'm not sure about Sleeping in Flame, Black Cocktail or A Child Across the Sky. I'll have to think on them. Perhaps it's time to write another article?

5-0 out of 5 stars From the Teeth of Death
While not as pleasant a read as Carroll's BONES OF THE MOON, FROM THE TEETH OF ANGELS is one of Carroll's best-written novels. A friend couldn't finish it because the protagonist is stricken with AIDS and has friends facing death as well. One of the more interesting devices is Death as a character, and the portrayal isn't the usual, somewhat flattering picture. Carroll shows death as petty, a liar and cheat. While not an easy book to read, it is immensely rewarding.

4-0 out of 5 stars From the Teeth of Angles
Does Death have more power over us than we have have over Death? This is the question Carroll tries to answer in this great book.

When we near the ends of our lives, sometimes Death allows us to ask questions of him, but beware what you ask because if you don't understand the answer it will cost you... And possibly the people around you.This is the story of Ian McGann, a travel agent from London; Wyatt, aka Finky Linky the TV clown of children's hearts; Sophie, the widow and best friend of Wyatt who drags him to Europe as he is dying of leukemia; Arlen Ford, the retired actress who left her career at it's peak to live in Vienna; Rose, her best friend; Sophie's brother and sister-in-law.Death enters their lives in different ways and it comes around full circle as their stories intertwine when a photojournalist takes a break from Yugoslavia and visits Vienna and leads to the understanding of who we really are.

Carroll's prose brings these peoples' lives into your life and as is usually the case with his books, we leave with a new insight to ourselves.


A Guide to my Rating System:

1 star = The wood pulp would have been better utilized as toilet paper.
2 stars = Don't bother, clean your bathroom instead.
3 stars = Wasn't a waste of time, but it was time wasted.
4 stars = Good book, but not life altering.
5 stars = This book changed my world in at least some small way. ... Read more

2. After Silence
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: Pages (1994-03-01)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$12.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385473516
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Cult favorite Jonathan Carroll has surpassed himself with his first mainstreamnovel. After Silence is an electrifying, unforgettable novel that unfolds with the logic of a Greek tragedy. Carroll writes with uncompromising honesty about how secrets gnaw and kill when truth is just as devastating. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars another masterpiece from Carroll
Jonathan Carroll is a remarkable author.His works are beautifully written and his plots are exciting and unique as all get-out, simultaneously whimsical and devastating, with fully drawn intriguing characters in extraordinary situations.In this novel, Max is a cartoonist who is gun shy about romance until he meets Lily, a fascinating single mother who reciprocates his love.Max is loved and accepted by Lily and her son Lincoln, and they're incredibly happy.Then Max finds out something terrible about Lily, and from the moment he makes his decision about how to react to this news, he sets all their lives on a course that may well end in tragedy.

There are few fantastical elements in this novel; unlike many of Carroll's other works, this is pretty straightforward, and calls attention to his seamless writing, natural dialogue and deep characterizations.

If you haven't read anything by Carroll, please do so.He is a treasure.Also, check out his web site for screenplays and short stories:jonathancarroll.com

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings.
First, I don't think this was as well written as some other of Carroll's books. Second, I don't think I should have liked the story at all. I felt sort of like an accomplice by continuing to turn the pages.

In some respects the Publishers Weekly review above tells you the whole book. If you don't want to wade through the details, stop there. It tells way too much for a review.

The review from School Library Journal says the book is YA. Huh??? Bunni Union either didn't really read the book or her opinion of appropriateness for young adults is far different from mine.

If you have not read Carroll, start with Land of Laughs.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good novel, but not Carroll's best to be certain.
If you're looking to start on Jonathan Carroll's works, this might be a nice place start because it's easier for the average reader to get into than a number of his better novels, which demand a more open mind and greater suspension of disbelief, but which subsequently yield greater rewards.

"After Silence" is a nice novel but one that feels a bit more dated than most of his other works. I read it 7 years ago, and while it felt somewhat more contemporary, that isn't really the problem. It lacks the strong sense of the author's impossibly dead-on sight with which he views the world and filters those sensibilities through a warped glass back to his readers, as well as more of his trademark flights of fantasy and fancy found elsewhere.

I'm rather shocked the editorial reviews give away so much of the book - that's a shame. But in case it seems like I'm taking a lot of shots at this book, I did give it 4 stars, and I did enjoy it. Ironically, if it were a book from an author I'd never heard of, I'd be heaping more praise on it.

Max Fischer is a Los Angeles cartoonist whose life is missing a little something. He finds it in love of a woman, Lily, who has an interesting and lovable son, Lincoln. She works at a homey, warm restaurant that brings a lot of joy and some interesting characters into their lives.

Max finds out a secret about Lily. He says and does nothing about it virtually.

We move ahead in time. The secret ends up having disastrous effects, but it is not clear at all that Max could've done anything to prevent what happened. That's the rub. Even if he acted on the secret and told the concerned party, the end may have been inevitable.

This book is pervaded by a strong sense of loss. How does a child so bright and wonderful, full of so much curiousity and love, turn into such a cynical, hateful *thing*? How do such relationships go wrong? We see this sense of horrifying loss and the psychological, emotional, and physical beatings life inflicts on people in an interesting scene with one of Lincoln's friends and Max, a scene of what is sometimes called "magical realism" of which Carroll makes more ample use of in other novels.

"After Silence" is a very good book, well-written, but as I said before, it is not Carroll's best. It's a decent place to start out, it's a lot more grounded in reality and straightforward than many of his novels. This one is still one of his better novels though. If I had to do some improvisational ranking, however, I did prefer "The Wooden Sea," "Land of Laughs," "From The Teeth Of Angels," "Sleeping In Flame," the collection "The Panic Hand," and "Outside the Dog Museum" to "After Silence." Just my opinion at this point and time.

Make no mistake about it though - this is a genuinely affecting novel. Recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A nightmare in three parts
JC has always been very deceptive in his style: simple language, many fantastic elements, and heartwarming moments.However, all these elements are accompanied with severe dark fantasy or even horror.

I find this book to be the most extreme example of what I just cited.A deceptively simple story starts with the hero falling in love with a single mother, goes on with his discovery and eventual acceptance of the mother's dark secret, and ends with the consequences of such an an acceptance.It is a love story that ends like an ancient greek tragedy: complete devastation.

In an uncharacteristic manner, this story has very little fantasy in it and all of it crammed at the very end which makes the feeling of devastation strangely real and permanent.

I highly reccomended it.

5-0 out of 5 stars one of Carroll's most addictive novels
After Silence is one of Carroll's most addictive novels.I got sucked into the story and had a hard time putting it down.Like all of his novels, the sudden ending may put some readers off but I felt it summed up the novel perfectly.Definately a good place to start for those new to Carroll. ... Read more

3. White Apples
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 320 Pages (2003-07-18)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0031MA8CO
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Vincent Ettrich, a genial philanderer, discovers he has died and come back to life, but he has no idea why, or what the experience was like. Gradually, he discovers he was brought back by his true love, Isabelle, because she is pregnant with their child—a child who, if raised correctly, will play a crucial role in saving the universe.

But to be brought up right, the child must learn what Vincent learned on the other side—if only Vincent can remember it. On a father’s love and struggle may depend the future of everything that is.

By turns quirky, romantic, awesome, and irresistible, White Apples is a tale of love, fatherhood, death, and life that will leave you seeing the world with new eyes.
Amazon.com Review
Vincent Ettrich is in a tight spot. He has died and been brought back to life to help save his unborn son from evil and chaotic forces who want to prevent this son from becoming the savior of the universe. Sound bizarre? Welcome to the surreal and metaphysically massive novel White Apples by Jonathan Carroll.

Following up the equally strange but widely acclaimed The Wooden Sea, Carroll paints on an even wider canvas with White Apples. In Carroll's world, humans are key threads in a giant tapestry that is being woven as life is lived. But there are dark forces at work who don't want the weaving to continue as is and Ettrich, his beloved Isabelle, and their sentient fetus find themselves standing in the way. Their struggles to merely understand what is happening to them and to stand tall in the very face of darkness makes for a humorous, touching, and thrilling tale with, as is expected, a big bang of an ending. But the most marvelous aspect of the novel is not its far-reaching, mind-blowing metaphysics. It's the wonderfully tragic love story of Vincent and Isabelle that keeps this flight of fancy grounded and beautifully human. --Jeremy Pugh ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars White Apples
I think most people either love Jonathan Carroll or hate him, not much in between. I loved White Apples. Unless you're used to Jonathan Carroll's style, you might, indeed, find this book terrible as some have said. If you are a fan, this is great. It actually is less confusing, less disjointed than other books of Carroll's. You just need to learn to go with the flow. Don't resist or protest because things are too weird and confusing. Just let it happen and in the end you'll be given understanding. When I read one of Jonathan Carroll's books that are "more normal", I keep waiting for things to get weird. I'm almost disappointed when they don't. If you want "normal" try Kissing The Beehive. It is an excellent read and you won't believe it's the same author. It reveals the incredible flexibility of a genius mind.

1-0 out of 5 stars a waste of time and money
I read about one novel a week, and I can read virtually any genre, including magic realism.A book has to be pretty bad for me to put it down.Actually, I did not put this one down, I threw it across the room after reading a scene where the leading couple is in the elephant cage at the zoo and a group of children take the trunk of the baby elephant and pull it through the bars until its head pops and the elephant dies. The book does not have this violent tone up until this point (which is about 3/4ths of the way through), and this scene seems to pop up out of nowhere.I was slogging along trying to involve myself in the plot (which is weak), and I just couldn't take any more.I do not recommend this book, even as a loaner from the library.

2-0 out of 5 stars Potential Squandered
I just finished this book this morning. I only had 6 pages to go. Can you imagine putting a book down with just 6 pages left? Neither could I-- until I read White Apples. It just didn't really matter to me what happened at the end.

I like quirky books, especially authors like Tom Robbins and Vonnegut, so I thought this would be a good choice. With those authors, you get great story telling combined with imaginative ideas. Their writing is effortlessly funny and you have something to think about when you finish one of their novels.

With White Apples, you get sloppy story telling with ideas that seem to be weird just for the sake of being weird. At one point there is a giant lipstick-wearing rat. He comes out of nowhere and is gone, never to be heard from again. I suppose it was an attempt at humor; but if you're not sure if something is suppose to be funny, then it isn't.

If that wasn't bad enough, the poor ideas are executed in a sloppy manner. I really don't like to have to go back and reread sentences just to figure out where the comma should go in order to understand what isbeing said, or what is going on. It seems that the author confuses breaking the rules for creativity.

It's possible that there is a good book in there somewhere, Carroll just doesn't have the talent,or maybe he was just too lazy to do the extensive rewrites that were required to make this book worth reading.

If you like unusual writing, do yourself a favor and read any of Robbin's books--especially Jitterbug Perfume.

4-0 out of 5 stars A heart rending tale of beauty and laguage
White Apples was the the first Jonathan Carroll book I read.A fabulous weird off center tale of a man who was brought back from the dead by his lover (Don't let this idea dissuade you from picking up this book)If you do you will be missing out on one FANTASTIC storyteller.The language and choice of words that Mr. Carroll chooses makes his writing an art.

This is a truly emotional book.One I can't recommend highly enough.I'm now reading his latest, called The Ghost in Love which is vying for the top spot in my Carroll library.White Apples has always held a special place for me because it was my introduction to his world.His books are hard to characterize.

The BEST way I can think of to put it is Alice Hoffmanesque but EXTREMELY left of her style.Alice Hoffman is my favorite female writer and after reading White Apples and The Ghost in Love I think I've discovered that Jonathan Carroll is Ms. Hoffman's yin to Mr. Carroll's yang.Now I wonder what the two of them together could produce.

Anyway, I can't say enough about this wonderful author.You MUST read him!

1-0 out of 5 stars Not enjoyable for me
A friend who thoroughly enjoyed this book sent me a copy. I wish I felt the same but ... ugh. I thought there was a lot of sloppy writing with ideas that just dead-ended. I found it a generally annoying, frustrating read full of clumsy "telling." An occasional line popped up that I appreciated, such as this description of a character: "... three quarters perfection, one quarter broken glass." But otherwise ... I'd like the hours of my life back that I spent reading it. ... Read more

4. Black Cocktail
by Jonathan Carroll
 Hardcover: 76 Pages (1991-09)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$157.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312063040
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars A bit rushed, but fine overall.
Jonathan Carroll, Black Cocktail (St. Martin's Press, 2000)

I've spent a good deal of time thinking about how I'm going to review Black Cocktail; a full month, in fact (I finished it on February 1, and I'm writing the review on February 29). That should probably tell me something; this novella-length volume has stuck with me a lot longer than most books of its size would.

To explain this would be to give away a great deal, and I generally don't like to do that; you can read the descriptions found on Amazon, which are more spoiler-laden than the flap copy. I'll just call it a weird little new-agey-feeling story that wanders into the realms of existential horror every now and again. It's very well-written, and very interesting, through the ending could have used a bit (okay, a great deal) of fleshing out. Still, if you're looking for a quick, easy read that has a lot going on under the hood, Black Cocktail is worth your time. Also, Gaiman fans take note: there are a few Dave McKean illustrations scattered throughout. ****

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Carroll's best
I have to agree with the other reviewer who said this felt unedited. There's too much going on in this story for the 60 or so pages. Many of the familiar Carroll themes are there and the two main characters are engaging, but the "aha" moment felt rushed and incomplete. It probably should have been a longer novel, or at least one of the many twists should have come out to streamline the story. Nice illustrations and cover art by Dave McKean.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very diappointing
I understand the novella Black Cocktail is only 76 pages long and can't be considered in the same league as Carroll's novels (which I love) - but this was very disappointing.

It's as if Carroll, unable to sleep one night, sat down to write a novel, changed his mind, dashed off these pages, and published them without looking them over (or passing them to an editor to read.)

Familiar characters and themes without any new revelations...and an ending that seems to have been drawn from a tired mind.I'll keep it along with his other books, but will probably never read this again.

5-0 out of 5 stars another gem from Carroll
I'm on a quest now to acquire all of Carroll's books since they tend to go out of print quickly, at least in the United States (he lives in Vienna and his books are big sellers in Europe).I just got a copy of Black Cocktailwhich I had never read and was again blown away by his imagination andstory-telling ability.He gets this idea from Plato -- that all humansoriginally were joined to another being and spend the rest of their liveslooking for their other half (also Plato's explanation for sexualpreference as those that started as two men obviously look for the malehalf).Only Carroll makes it the perfect 5 (i.e. everyone used to be 5people connected) and has his usual interesting and quirky characterstrying to reunite.This is only a 75 page novella, but it has all theclassic Carroll elements.Read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Staggering, the work of a true national treasure.
Sleek and absorbing, this is a book that draws you in with the embrace of a close relative.
The plot dissects the occurences in the life of Ingram York, an L.A. disc-jockey with a difference. As always, the major character here is a minor character elsewhere in Carroll's work, forming piece of what would almost seem to be an intricate collage of people and their interactions.
Moreover, this is a book that probes the age old question "Who am I?", and actually dares to suggest an answer.

A chain of events in York's life leaves him reeling in contemplation, and a chance introduction to a shadowy character named Michael Billa soon has him questioning things he once considered sacred and took for granted.

Written with equal parts fantasy and dark comedy, this tale slowly slices through your heart until you find yourself shivering in the corner of the room.

Here is one cocktail that will defintely leave you feeling intoxicated...Ronan Glynn (glynnr98@yahoo.com), New Jersey. ... Read more

5. The Stories in Between: A Between Books Anthology
by Jonathan Carroll, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Maria V. Snyder, Gregory Frost, Lawrence M. Schoen, John Passarella, Catherynne M. Valente
Paperback: 306 Pages (2010-01-05)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$11.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 097136088X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Help celebrate an iconic indie bookstore!For thirty years, Between Books has provided the Eastern Seaboard of the United States with the absolute best in alternate entertainment-speculative fiction, comics, anime, and gaming. While other stores have disappeared, this shelter from the tides of bitter reality has remained, enduring by providing the finest in every genre, by stacking every shelf, every nook, cranny and tiny space in between with the strange, the beautiful and the terrifying. Now they have brought together many of the authors who have entertained the visitors to their hallowed walls in a collection so splendiferously diverse, it defies conventional description.John Passarella brings us a new Wendy Ward story in which a curse meets its match. A scientist opens her personal Pandora's Box in a tale by Maria V. Snyder. Gregory Frost finds an Old One in the noir. A roving nightmare auditions a new cast member in a chilling tale by Jonathan Maberry. Catherynne M. Valente paints a hauntingly beautiful picture of Hell. Pleasure and longing collide in a story by CJ Henderson. Memory, loss, and comfort coalesce in a story by Jonathan Carroll. All these and more await you in The Stories in Between.Greg Schauer established Between Books in 1979.It resides at 2703 Philadelphia Pike in Claymont, DE. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Each story reviewed and rated individually. Very good anthology!
The beginning of this book has a forward by Joseph Gangemi and an introduction by Greg Schauer. Do not skip them. I found them to be as entertaining as the actual stories. Each story also begins with an illustration to set the mood. If you are a fan of Science-Fiction, Horror, Pulp Fiction, Comics, or Gaming then I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of this anthology. Parents, be warned that much of this book is for mature audiences only, so do not give a copy to you thirteen-year-old kid. (Wow, look at all the teens running to snatch up their own copy! There is nothing like the forbidden.)

Below I list each title with a small synopsis and rating. Remember that the ratings and my thoughts are MY opinions. Mine only. What I love, you may hate, and vice versa. One thing is for sure; every one of these authors and illustrators are beyond talented.

The Wrestler & The Spear Fisher by Lawrence M. Schoen

Two warriors, once-twin brothers, have been reborn to fight for the right of succession. Only one may lead their people. The spirits of Aniwa, protectors of the people, devise a way to choose.

**** Four Stars! This story is thirteen pages in length. It is well written and reads much like a fable.

Beneath Between by Lawrence C. Connolly

***** Five Stars! Everyone has read a story or watched a show about ... "not-quite parallel worlds where the roads not taken were taken ...." However, after reading this story I was left with my own series of "What If" thoughts.

Dr. Time by Maria V. Snyder

Dr. Gaye Clemmer is working on a Relocater Device. Another scientist mockingly assures her that within a month she will be gone and his lab area would expand to include her space. But then Gaye begins getting messages from her future self.

***** Five Stars! This story assured me that should I ever build a machine that can transport matter through time, I am never to communicate with my past self. An intriguing story with an ending that surprised me. Terrific!

Squeeze Me by Don Bethman

*** Three Stars! This very brief comic is a whopping two pages long. The only readable words are found in the last panel. Yet the meaning of the story comes across with no problem.

Swift Decline by Gregory Frost

A husband hires an investigator to locate this run-away wife. The trail leads to a small, seemingly deserted, mining town where all the people sit silently in a dim bar. As strange as the investigator thought things were, nothing could have prepared him for what he sees in the rectory or for what came afterward.

**** Four Stars! A blending of science-fiction and mystery creates a story with the flavor of an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Short Fuse by Patrick Thomas

John Murphy is a bartender with some pretty interesting friends in law enforcement. When he enters a lingerie shop, he finds a woman with a bomb strapped to herself. Murphy decides he has to help defuse the situation.

*** Three Stars! A pretty good story with an ironic twist.

Blood Alone by John Passarella

It has been fifteen months since the last attack triggered by Wither's dying curse, but Wendy Ward and her friends are still alert. Good thing, because the latest supernatural threat is cunning and able to control the minds of others. It gets worse when one of Wendy's friends becomes unwillingly enthralled and a previously dormant seed of evil within her mind begins to grow.

***** Five Stars! This author is a master when it comes to writing a story soaked in dark nuances. At forty-one pages in length, it is the longest story within this anthology (though one other does come a close second). For those who are following the Wendy vs Wither's Curse battles, I suggest you do not miss this episode. I would even say that this one is vital. Outstanding!

Beyond Imagine by Mike McPhail

As Ingram struggles to full awareness, he realizes his squad is liberating him from a sealed capsule. Morgan informs him that she had been the first free of her unknown-type of cell and immediately began helping the rest of the squad out of their individual imprisonments. The squad soon finds themselves under attack.

***** Five Stars! This is one of the best short military science-fiction stories I have ever read. I could not be more impressed. In fact, I am making a note to check for more of McPhail's stories. The author is also a game designer. Since I have recently grown bored with "World of Warcraft", perhaps I can find a new online game as well.

Appetite by Jonathan McGoran

He had made the perfect diet pill, Napeteine. It basically turned off your digestive tracts, so you could eat whatever you wanted. No matter how much a person ate, the fat would disappear and the muscles would be enhanced. Surely something this easy must have at least a few side effects.

**** Four Stars! My way of thinking must be as royally warped as McGoran's, because this story mimics a nightmare I had once as a teen. I have never forgotten the dream of long ago and now I am sure that I never will.

Doctor Nine by Jonathan Maberry

Those with darkest hearts and blackest souls dream of the being known as Doctor Nine. So when one little girl decides to watch her twin die beautifully, Doctor Nine is invited to the party.

*** Three Stars! This is the author's version of taking a small peek into an insane girl's mind. I do not know if I would call it disturbing or interesting. I believe readers must decide that for themselves.

My Grandfather Was Adolf Hitler's Roommate by Henry Long

** Two Stars! This is the second longest story within this anthology. It is in two sections and reads like a memoir. The first section is Henry's grandfather and young Hitler. It follows how the two met and, eventually, parted ways. The second section is Henry's uncle. It involves aliens and conspiracy theories.

Janey In Amber by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Janey leaves her home and job in the city whenever her mother has an episode. Her mother's Dementia is hard on Janey's emotions, but she never fails to care for her mother. Of course, Janey has Jack to help her through it all. But does Jack offer the type of support a husband is supposed to?

**** Four Stars! I figured out what was really going on pretty early; however, this is still an interesting read with a twist.

Vedran by Jonathan Carroll

When William's wife died he could not get past his mourning. To keep from hitting hard despair, William got on a bus taking other senior citizens out for the day. On that bus William sat down next to another gentleman who had recently lost his wife. The other man had loved his wife too, but was happy. William wanted to know how.

**** Four Stars! This story was not only sweet, but made me stop and seriously think about my husband. I hope that I recall what William learned. Very moving and memorable.

The Devil You Don't by Danielle Ackley-McPhail

After a hard and long debriefing about her actions on the Groom Experimental Complex, Private Kat Alexander and the rest of the Daire's Devils are sent on a covert assignment for some fact finding and to deal with possible space pirates.

**** Four Stars! This hard-core soldier has a major kick-butt attitude. She may be a private now, but her future looks bright. I see a lot of potential with Kat and the team. Here's hoping for more.

The Dungeon Out Of Time by Walter Ciechanowski

When John Chandler's family heads to the beach for a week, the boy ends up in a toy shop for new "Dangerous Dungeons" board game material. He ends up with more than he expects. A lot more!

**** Four Stars! Anyone who has ever played a D&D board game will especially enjoy this bit of drama. Creepy!

The Wonderous Boundless Thought by C J Henderson

In the future, where the brain has been mapped, charted, and everyone uses the entire organ, people are at peace. Anything can be downloaded directly into one's brain. They have everything they could possibly want. Or do they?

**** Four Stars! This author must have a very philosophical mind set. I found the story to be intriguing and the reactions of those having the discussion left me a tad unnerved in the end.

Proverbs of Hell by Catherynne M. Valente

The brothers tend the small garden within their personal Hades. Each night a female Imp visits to devour their organs and tell a tale.

*** Three Stars! This one made me scratch my head in confusion for awhile. At the ending, I was not sure that I understood what the author was trying to get across, so I reread it. I have decided this story is much like museum pieces of art work. It is whatever you make of it.

The Legacy of Between Books by Steve Ressel

***** Five stars! This is a four page comic where Greg Schauer, an editor of this anthology and the owner of "Between Books", is poked fun at. If you are a nerd, whether you admit it to yourself or not, you will NOT be able to finish this comic without grinning. The fact that you understood and empathized enough to grin or chuckle proves your geekiness.

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best anthology of the year
"the stories in between" has some of the very best short stories I've come across in a long time. From works about your favorite local bookstore to Cthulhu ickiness, UFO's and the new world order, far flung islands with warring gods, Zombies, Vampires, and terrific mil-sci fi, this book has it all in one nice tight volume. You can't go wrong picking this book up and cracking it open on a cold stormy night with the rain beating on the windows. My personal favorite out of the collection is "my grandfather was Hitler's roommate" an intriguing look at pre-WWI Hitler before that conflict polished up the loathsome evil he would come to represent. "appetite" is another story that you can easily see happening in today's instant gratification society. Finally an anthology that I enjoyed cover to cover. ... Read more

6. The Ghost in Love: A Novel
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-09-29)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765323052
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

A man falls in the snow, hits his head on a stone curb and dies. A ghost that's been sent to take his soul to the Afterlife arrives just as he falls. But something strange occurs: the man doesn't die. The ghost is flabbergasted. This is unprecedented. Going immediately to its boss, the ghost asks, what should I do now? The boss says, we don't know how this happened but we're working on it. In the meantime, we want you to stay with this man and watch to see if he does anything that might help us figure out what's going on.

Unhappily, the ghost agrees. It is a ghost, not a nursemaid. The last thing it wants to do is hang around watching a human being walk through his every day. But a funny thing happens—the ghost falls truly madly deeply in love with the man's girlfriend and things get complicated. The Ghost in Love is about what happens to us when we discover that we have become the masters of our own fate. No excuses, no outside forces or gods to blame—the responsibility is all our own. It's also about love, ghosts that happen to be gourmet cooks, talking dogs, and picnicking in the rain with yourself at twenty different ages.

It's tough being a ghost on an empty stomach.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars HOORAY!!:D
I have not started reading this book yet, however it was sent to me in a timely fashion and I like the way the cover looks!!!:D

5-0 out of 5 stars A Ghost Story About the Struggle Inside of Us All
German Landis doesn't know what's wrong with her ex-boyfriend Ben. They share Pilot, the mutt he'd given her when they were living together. Now the only time she sees him is when she picks up the dog and when she returns him. She'd thought they'd had the perfect relationship, then Ben started going strange on her. She'd tried talking it out, but eventually she had to leave.

Ben misses German, but he can't seem to do what it takes to get her back, because there is a reason he went all strange on his girlfriend. It's because his life is going all strange on him. He seems to be able to see what's going on in a young woman's head. He actually sees what she does, feels what she feels. Plus he's got a ghost living with him who happens to be in love with German. When the ghost finally appears (the ghost is a she by the way) it really throws Ben for a loop.

But he's got other strange otherworldly beings who are going to enter his life and who are going to throw him for a lot more loops, like a guy who calls himself Stanley, who is actually the Angel of Death. Then there is a homeless rag of a man named Stewart Parrish who attacks Stanley and will come back and try to kill Ben. But Ben is saved by a Verz, a kind of invisible ghost type dog. There seem to be no end to these creatures and their purpose in the afterlife seems to be to protect Ben.

And there's more, so much more in this book that kept me reading a day away. This is a ghost story, to be sure, but it's so much more. It's about the struggle that goes on inside of us all. In a way I couldn't help thinking about an old Looney Toons cartoon, the one where Porky Pig doesn't know if he should or shouldn't do something, what I don't remember, but there is a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, they are fighting, trying to get Porky to do what they want. Which one will win, that's what this book is really about.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Trip You Won't Want to Leave When the Journey is Through
Ben Gould's ghost Ling loves to cook. She makes gourmet meals and talks to his dog, who talks back. Ben, who should have died when he fell and hit his head, didn't. So his ghost, who was supposed to clean up his affairs after his death, couldn't do her job. The Angel of Death was confused, didn't know what to do, so he tasked her with the job of hanging around Ben and reporting back.

Ben has recently broken up with German Landis, a woman he loves dearly, but strange things have been going on in his life and he can't have her around. He's been seeing through Danielle Voyle's eyes, reading her thoughts. She's another who should have died, but didn't. He goes to her apartment, but she can't see him. His ghost goes too, neither can see her. And now all of a sudden he can talk to his dog too and finds out the dog was a former girlfriend who died in a past life. Ben's got problems.

And that's just the beginning of this excellent book that will take you on a journey like you've never been on before. How do I describe Jonathan Carroll's writing. He's sort of a literary Dean Koontz with a dash of Jodi Picoult and Barbara Kingsolver thrown in with maybe a touch of a good poet for good measure. Just read this phrase, "Dogs howled, whored growled, beggars scowled." Wow, that's writing you can wrap your brain around, especially when you know it's part of the description of a bad part of town.

Jonathan Carroll's imagination will take you on a trip you won't want to leave when the journey is through and at journey's end, you're going to find yourself doing a lot of introspective thinking.

2-0 out of 5 stars ok for young people but...
The story plot tries to be complex and philosophical. I think it's meant to appeal to young people (high school), because the ideas are obvious and sentimental.

3-0 out of 5 stars I didn't love this ghost
I almost gave up this story after 35 pages, but it seemed to be picking up. So I stuck with it until page 75. There I quit. The author is a talented writer, but the story was just too over-the-top for me. If you like dogs, you may like this story, but I couldn't buy the talking dog (not by voice but by telepathy with the ghost and other dogs). I didn't like the ghost being referred to as "it," rather than "he" or "she." Maybe the story is a madcap satire, but I just couldn't get into it. I wanted a ghost that falls in love with a woman without all the distractions of talking dogs and the ghost turning into a fly and then back. Oh, well. ... Read more

7. The Land of Laughs: A Novel
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 256 Pages (2001-02-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312873115
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Have you ever loved a magical book above all others? Have you ever wished the magic were real? Welcome to The Land of Laughs. A novel about how terrifying that would be.

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn't know who he is or what he wants--in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children's tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France's hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France's biography. Warned in advance that France's family may oppose them, they're surprised to find France's daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page...leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.
Amazon.com Review
Thomas Abbey is a man stuck in a rut. An English teacher in a smallConnecticut prep school, Abbey is in a crisis. His career is unfulfilling,he has no social or love life to speak of, and he cannot break out of theshadow of his famous father, the actor Stephen Abbey. To kick-start hislife, he takes a sabbatical to work on a biography ofhis favorite writer, Marshall France. France's books were the only thingthat kept Abbey sane during his childhood, and though he was renowned forhis lyrical and imaginative children's books, nearly nothing was knownabout the writer's life.

Although Abbey has been warned that France's daughter Anna has blocked allprevious attempts at her father's biography, he and Saxony Garder--anintense woman also obsessed with France's life--head to Galen, Missouri,with high hopes of breaking down Anna's resistance. They are surprised tofind Anna the soul of small-town hospitality and quite excited aboutAbbey's proposal--even eager to get the project finished as soon aspossible. Even stranger than Anna's behavior is the town of Galen itself.On the surface, all is as a small midwestern town should be. But thepeople of the town seem to know what their future holds--freak accidentsand all--down to the hour and are as eager for Abbey to finish thebiography as Anna is.

As far as plot goes, The Land of Laughs doesn't break any newground--it is a riff on a very old literary theme--and the more interestingissues the story raises--fate, free will, and the creative power of thewritten word--receive only a glancing blow as the storycareens to its somewhat unsatisfying Gothic ending. That said, Carroll doesshow a good ear for dialogue and a deft hand at creating complex charactersand quietly ominous moods. And the story--hoary plot line andall--immediately grabs you and doesn't let go. If you already knowJonathan Carroll from his other novels, you will want to add this reissue ofhis first novel to your library. And if you haven't yet been introduced tothis inventive author, The Land of Laughs is the perfect place tobegin. --Perry M. Atterberry ... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

2-0 out of 5 stars This is a classic of fantasy?????!!!!!
It would be a real stretch to suggest to any one that you should consider "The Land of Laughs" anything more than some creative writing amateur's fluke of getting published.Fantasy? Classic? Who are you people and what paucity of fiction must you live with??

The cover of my addition has a dog with a kite around its neck, an eerie friendly faced dog.Storm clouds roll behind him.That 1 gram of description I just gave you is about as in depth a description the book gives you for its so-cliche-you-can't-believe-it plot twist.The 300 page book has about 3 pages of actual fantasy element.And believe me this is nooo triumph of atmosphere. Carroll's writing is fluid and that's the only positive thing I can say about this book.A callow East Coast teacher goes to Missouri with his down-at-heel puppeteer girlfriend to write a biography of their favorite children's book author, Marshall France.But thigns are every so slightly myserious there!Carroll drops teency, tiny hints of what the books may contain, but he's not enough of a literary ventriloquist to give us passages of the books. So mostly we're given eighties high realism description of the sighs and smells of small town America. There's no suspense, no tension, his stabs at depicting relationships are outlandishly shallow. Plot devices are as clunky as a third grader's short story project: an aribrary tornado whips through town, its effects last for one paragraph and our heroine's leg gets in a cast. (Perhaps this foreshadows the cinematically climactic explosion that ends the story just as arbitrarily)A bull terrier talks, and our narrator ponders it for 2 paragraphs and resumes his preoccupation with the femme fatale's cleavage or his lover's loyalty. Our narrator, and presumabley Carroll has a stronger relationship with his libido than anyone else around him.Written in 1980 before nerdy cool was in, this book probably seemed like a dream for arty types at the time: peppered with art history-subculture references like Klee's puppets and Robert Crumb,& a laundry list of a life led outside the fast lane. However times have changed, bull terriers were coopted by a major ad campaign, and Robert Crumb has long since been the subject of a famously biographical movie. And fantasy's need to go beyond the Castle&Knight show has long been satisfied."The Land of Laughs" is mostly just a condescending look at small town life through the eyes of a hipster and due to a few stray animal and kite metaphors becomes the cheapest, cop out of urban fantasy I've ever wasted two days reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars carroll's first novel
This is Jonathan Carroll's first novel, originally published in 1980 and now, thankfully, being reprinted.I "discovered" Carroll a few months ago and have been trying to track down all of his books, so I was curious to see how it all started, and I was not disappointed in the least.It seems that, from the beginning, Carroll has been a skilled writer with an ear for dialogue and a talent for creating amazing characters in intense settings.

This is the story of Thomas Abbey, the slightly embittered son of a famous actor who now teaches literature at a private school.Thomas is bored and withering when he hits upon an idea that gets his juices flowing again -- he will write a biography of the author who helped him through his childhood -- an eccentric recluse who created wondrous worlds populated by extraordinary characters (much like Carroll himself).Shortly before he embarks on a working pilgrimage to the small Missouri hometown of the late author, Thomas meets an interesting, if vexing, woman who also loves the author, and she insinuates herself into the trip but also proves to be an invaluable assistant and sounding board as things in the small town get weird and weirder still.

This novel has been likened to the Twilight Zone and Carroll's works in general have been called American magical realism.Both characterizations seem apt, but incomplete.Carroll is a wonderful writer for any genre, and you''ll be doing yourself a favor by getting to know this gifted author.It all started here!

Also, check out the author's web site, complete with plays and short stories, at:jonathancarroll.com

5-0 out of 5 stars Land of eerie laughs
I found myself immediately drawn into the story by the detailed, descriptive writing and character development.Dark sense of humor and premise of the story may not appeal to a mass audience but will capture those readers who enjoy creativity and wit.Allusions to writing, books and life will resonate among book readers.I've already purchased another of his books which continues some of the same themes including an interesting point of view about dogs.

4-0 out of 5 stars Such a Fantastic Start!But, Sadly, a Weak Finish
Land of Laughs was actually recommended to me based on my love of Paul Auster by someone I've never met.Though I was totally unfamiliar with Jonathan Carroll, I'm always on the hunt for new (to me) authors, so I figured I'd give him a shot!

Land of Laughs is about a man named Thomas Abbey, a bored English teacher and son of a famous deceased actor.He decides to take some time off work to write a biography on his favorite children's author, Marshall France.After meeting a woman named Saxony Garder--another France fan--Thomas and Sax go to Galen, Missouri, to visit France's home and supposedly uncooperative daughter, Anna.Thomas is amazed when Anna is both cordial and encouraging with the biography, but she has her own agenda, one that involves incredible secrets about the citizenry of Galen and Marshall France himself!

Carroll wrote a fast-paced, deeply engaging novel for the first two-thirds of the book.His characterization was both realistic and mesmerizing.I saw so much of myself in Thomas, and I think many of you would as well.I assume Thomas' "everyman" appeal is by design.Saxony, an unlikable character at first, slowly grows on us as Carroll expertly peels layer after layer from her.Anna is mysterious and charismatic, and we can't help but be drawn to her.Carroll's solid narrative and dialogue refused allowing me to put the book down, for I couldn't resist the story of these three characters!

Then things get weird, and that's quite a statement from someone like me.

I can handle the fantasy element of the book, no problem.What bothered me, though, was Carroll's total departure from what made the first two-thirds of the book so utterly wonderful.He turns his back on all the nuance and care that won me over and propels the plot front and center at the expense of those characters into which he put such thought.The last third of the book becomes all about the "big finale," a finale that left me unimpressed and unsatisfied.

I enjoy fantasy, especially when it looks to be handled with such literary precision, but Carroll disappointed me when he abandoned those aspects of his writing that could have made me a life-long fan.I do recommend Land of Laughs for the touching and thought-provoking first two-thirds because it really is the work of a very talented man.The last third, well, you might as well finish it at that point and formulate your own opinion on the matter.

~Scott William Foley, author of Souls Triumphant

5-0 out of 5 stars France-cinating!
The blurbs about Carroll are right - he's good! This was my first exposure to him, and halfway through the book I started ordering his other books.

It's hard to say anything new about what an enjoyable read this is. I have noticed the more recent reviewers weren't exactly overwhelmed by the book. If the pacing were any faster, it wouldn't pack the same punch. If all the characters were "likable", the story couldn't be told. I also wonder what one of the reviewers has read that makes this seem so terrifying.

This is not a horror story - it's an adventure into a magical world created by someone long dead. Without spoilers, the details are impossible to describe. It does have more of the feel of Haruki Murakami than Philip K. Dick. It also has a bit of David Foster Wallace thrown in as you try to figure out where Carroll is headed.

If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know I read a lot and read a variety of types of books. Many, even those I've enjoyed a lot, escape my memory within days. This is one I'll remember for a long time. I'm looking forward to more great reads from him. ... Read more

8. A Child Across the Sky
by Jonathan Carroll
 Paperback: 272 Pages (1990-07-19)

Isbn: 0099709503
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
When a film-maker commits suicide, his legacy to his old friend is to solve the riddle of his death and to complete his final, flawed horror movie. This thriller transcends reality into the world of fantasy where the living and the dead intermingle. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars He's still one of my favorite authors
For some reason I wasn't able to sink fully into the world of Jonathan Carroll like I usually can...but here were a few lovely quotes:

"Whatever, it took an hour of hard walking in the blue lead cold of a New York December for me to really hold in the palm of my mind the fact my best and oldest friend was dead."

And speaking of being dead...

"There is a life review, of course, but it was so much more interesting than I had ever imagined.For one thing, they show you how and where your life really happened.Things you didn't experience or weren't ever aware of, but which dyed the fabric of your life its final color."

And as always, his take on life speaks right to mine: "What more American tradition is there than the turnpike rest stop?I don't mean those Mom and Pop pretty-good-food one-shot places somewhere off the interstate that sell homemade pralines.I'm talking about a quarter-mile lean on the steering wheel that curves you into the parking lot the size of a parade ground, fourteen gas tanks, toilets galore and Muzak.The food can be pretty good or pretty bad, but it's the high torque ambiance of the places that make them so interesting, the fact that no one is really there - only appetites or bladders, while eyes stare longingly out the window at the traffic."

Only appetites or bladders, indeed.

And I think I will end with this, because Carroll has a way, in nearly every book, at getting the reader to examine his or her own life as the characters do...looking back over the small pieces and huge events that shape who we are.The huge events are easy to remember, but sometimes it's the small pieces that give life its flavor.

"No matter how old or jaded you are there will always be something exciting and cool about cruising around at three in the morning with a bunch of good friends.All the old duds are asleep but you're still awake, the windows are down, the radio's glowing green and playing great music.Life's given you a few extra hours to horse around.If you don't grab them, they aren't usually offered again for a while."

See?So I honestly don't know why I couldn't sink into his words, his world.He creates characters that life the truest of lives in the most fantastical of circumstances.I can't point to anything in particular that caused my interest to wander.

I love Jonathan Carroll and his books...and I look forward to my next trip to his world.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Full Of Dreams And Nightmares From God's Gift To Readers."
Jonathan Carroll is the most consistent writer working today. With each novel he writes, he breaks new ground and always manages to create something compelling and gorgeous. All his books are massively beautiful works of art, each telling a story that screams to be heard. If you enjoy literature that doesn't restrict itself to solely entertainment--though is certainly not lacking in, but that also dares to challenge the mind--then do yourself a favor and read Jonathan Carroll.

3-0 out of 5 stars not his best
I agree with the previous review, that this isn't the best book with which to acquaint yourself with Carroll.THE LAND OF LAUGHS might be the best place to start - or try his last book, THE WOODEN SEA. Truth be told, A CHILD ACROSS THE SKY falls far short of his other works. Its highlights are two short stories, both of which can be found in his terrific collection, THE PANIC HAND. The plotting of CHILD feels rushed and forced, and its themes slightly convoluted.Carroll's distinctive voice is very much present - and as always a pleasure to listen to. This just didn't hit the mark like so many of his others.

4-0 out of 5 stars a bit less of a masterpiece than his others
Okay, maybe I'm being picky because I'm on this Jonathan Carroll streak right now and just finished four of his other books before this one.Like his great books, this one has brilliant scenes, concepts and wild plotdevices, but I found that it didn't hold together as well as his others. At times, it seems like even Carroll might have lost one of his ownthreads. This book made me appreciate how great his new one, Marriage ofSticks, is.If you haven't read anything by Carroll before, I'd stick tohis others first.If you're a Carroll freak like I am, you'll want tosearch this one out.Rondua appears in this one too and you may recognizeFinky-Linky and some of the usual suspects. ... Read more

9. The Panic Hand
by Jonathan Carroll
Hardcover: 295 Pages (1996-11)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$85.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312146981
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The short novels Uh-Oh City and Black Cocktail, combine with many short stories--including ""Friend's Best Man,"" ""The Sadness of Detail,"" and ""The Life of My Crime""--in an outstanding anthology of the author's shorter fiction.Amazon.com Review
"I want you frowning now, knowing something is very wrongwith your parachute even before actually pulling the cord and prayingit opens. P.S. It won't." So Jonathan Carroll addresses hisreaders in this much-awaited collection of 20 stories. Author ofseveral wry and dark novels, Carroll has a considerable following, buthis books are difficult to pigeonhole, so some horror and fantasyreaders are still unfamiliar with him. This collection shows off histalents admirably, in tales that range from bittersweet sadness overGod's failing memory, to a disturbing friendship between a dog and adying child, to a macabre fantasy about how men and women manipulateeach other. As The New York Times put it, "Carroll's worldis one that is subtly out of kilter, and which can take a turn for thesinister at any time." This volume is winner of the 1996 BramStoker Award for Best Short Story Collection. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Carroll at his top form
This is a treat for Jonathan Carroll fans. If you like his special style (I know, not everyone likes him, but I do. I guess people either love him or hate him), you are in for a treat. The short stories in this collection are exactly what the readers like about him. The intriguing details of people's lives in the world where everyone has something special about them, be it a hobby, a phobia, a secret, a way of thinking; the magic springing out of nowhere, and the whole parallel supernatural universe created in his own, irreproducible manner. The same themes as in his novels are developed in more concise manner. The dogs, as always, are very significant and mysterious creatures. The dark corners of the characters' souls, where even they go only reluctantly, in dreams or in extreme circumstances, are explored. Death, childhood fantasies, painful and pleasant memories all form the unique mosaic of Carroll's world. All the stories are superb, although my absolute favorites are "Mr. Fiddlehead" (the last dialogue couldn't be better). "The Jane Fonda Room" and "My Zoondel". I like Carroll especially when I want to get away from the mundane surroundings and at the same time think about some universally important issues. I recommend this collection.

3-0 out of 5 stars An almost-great collection from an incredible writer
The Panic Hand is an uneven collection of short stories by one of the best surreal fantasists out there today. For starters, if you're already a Carroll fan and haven't read this yet, buy it -- there are some true Carroll gems here.

If you've never read Jonathan Carroll before, then this is the wrong place to start. You've got to slowly slide into his work and sync with his quirky rhythms to start to appreciate his work. For Carroll initiates, you can't go wrong by starting with his novels Land Of Laughs or Bones Of The Moon.

This book is a must read, so why did I give it only three stars? When Carroll is on, there is nobody better. When he strikes out, it's a bitter disappointment because his other work sets such high expectations. The Sadness of Details and Friend's Best Man are just monstrously good stories. Other yarns like Uh Oh City are also good, but suffer from a common Carroll issue of taking half the story to ramp up and start to really cook. The Jane Fonda Room was cute, but ultimately felt like an empty piece of fluff. And The Fall Collection and Waiting To Wave are,quite honestly,snooze fests.

A must for Carroll fans, otherwise you're better off trying one of his novels if you're unfamiliar with his work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good enough read--one story stands out
I'm usually not a short fiction reader. It usually doesn't evolve enough to be interesting. I enjoyed speculative fiction because it focuses on cocnept and ideas and how they play out in the future. Gives my mind more to think about than the limits of the prose.

I enjoyed this collection well enough. JC's writing is always a comfortable read. However the story "Uh-Oh City" is awesome. He presents an idea that I would love to see fleshed out. He leaves questions on the mind that want to be answered. The book was worth it for that story alone for me.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Imagination too Fond of Gimmicks and Easy Oddity.
After reading three of Carroll's books (I will read more), I feel that only one of them lives up to this writer's lofty reputation as a uniquely gifted magical realist, and it isn't this one. That would be The Land of Laughs, in case you're wondering. The Panic Hand, a collection of stories, features two or three remarkable tales (far and away from the pack is "Friend's Best Man," a deserved winner of the World Fantasy Award in 1987) that pull off this author's trademark legerdemain of snatching the rug out from under realistic premises to reveal a mysterious and sinister world riven with fantastic possibilities. Other stories, and there are a lot of them, are sketchy, gimmick-ridden, flatly written, and somehow smug in their pseudo profundity. And that's frustrating! Carroll is capable of better, as stories like "Friend's Best Man" make plain.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wild and Wonderful Fare
I hate to harp on it, but Jonathan Carroll has problems ending stories.I would like to say I don't care because even a partial story by Carroll is enough, but the truth is that I'm always left with a craving that you get when you read a story and you're wrapped up into it and you require completion.Supposedly American audiences require a "happy" completion, but I hope I'm beyond that."Uh-oh City" has all the things that are quintessential Carroll: characters who are intrinsically interesting, a doozy of a "weirdness," and the, unfortunately, open ending.The premise is that there are 36 people who are God, but not individually, but collectively.One-thirty-sixth of God is still pretty much amazing, though, and when God(sub36) tells you that they are dying and you are next in line to become part of the 36thhood, what can you say? Complications ensue, as they usually do, and things are never as they seem in a Carroll story, but after the final twisty turn we reach the last sentence and we are still on the precipice of understanding, and need a final push to put us over...and it never comes.

The other stories here are more of the same wild, wonderful fare.THE PANIC HAND was originally published in Germany with a slightly different table of contents.I own a copy of that book, but being unable to read German was slightly hampered in trying to understand the stories. Carroll's better at the long form--his favorite literary device is the untrustworthy narrator, and it takes at least 50 pages to set up a story with one of those that won't annoy the reader.Even still, his tendency for the twist and his incredible way of creating characters that you would like to know in a few sentences is enjoyable even in the short form. ... Read more

10. Voice of Our Shadow (Fantasy Masterworks)
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 208 Pages (2002-01-10)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$28.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0575073675
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
For Joe Lennox, successful young writer, Vienna provides a refuge from the tragedy of his brother's death, until he starts up a friendship with the eccentric India Tate and her magician husband Paul. Gradually Joe falls in love with India, but Paul finds out - before he suddenly drops dread. And now Joe has two deaths on his conscience and another voice calling from beyond the grave ... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars This early effort is not the place to start.
I tracked this down because I do consider myself a fan. However I do not think that this is the best effort. Considering that this is his second book, it should come as no suprise that it show Carroll still developing his unique style of Contemporary Fantasy. While I think the characterization, one of Carroll's strong suits, is good, I just feel that the book is uneven and abit rushed. There are instances where you see some real tight insightful writing but it is a precursor of the greatness to come. I think where this falls down is in the uncanny incidents that propel the story into the realm of modern fantasy. I just felt they were sort of random and did not tie enough into the psychology of the narrator, Joe Lennox. As evidenced by his later works, it is a must that the more outlandish elements have to be grounded by the character. Simply the identification with Joe is not strong enough. And the ending just seems to be too sudden. That said I don't regret reading it. I have just been spoiled by works like The Marriage of Sticks and The Wooden Sea. I'd recommend these or the inscrutibly offbeat Outside The Dog Museum as better places to start.This is a writer still trying to get the mix right. If you gotta read everything he's written, it's not painful, but otherwise read something more recent.

4-0 out of 5 stars A subtle fantasy
Voice of Our Shadow is the story of Joe Lennox. As a kid, he kills his delinquent brother, kind of accidentally, but manages to suppress the guilt. He turns his brother's story into a short story. The story is made into a play, making enough money for Joe so he can move to Vienna to live a life as a writer.

In Vienna, he learns to love the city, meets some friend and finds love - but unfortunately in a wrong place, with a wrong person. Soon Joe has another death on his conscience. A nightmare begins, as the fantastical elements of this story come to life. The story has elements of horror and supernatural.

Jonathan Carroll has written a beautiful and fast-moving book. It's not my favourite of his work, but even a weaker Carroll book is still a good one. Worth reading, but don't start with this is you're new to the world of Jonathan Carroll.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior Storytelling for Carroll
Jonathan Carroll is an author I read for his excellent writing technique, his just-slightly-askew-from-nature supernatural twists, and his cosmopolitan viewpoint.All this he delivers with admirable regularity; he's become a brand name and practically a genre unto himself to a lot of folks.However, I have come to expect him to lose focus towards the end of his books: he values precision in writing and plot up until the end, where he enjoys leaving lots of things unsaid and lots of threads hanging.This is ideal for book-club discussions, but not so much for me: I know Carroll considers it a feature, but it's something I have to forgive him for rather than something I buy his books for.

This book is less like that than most of his work.The story -- about a young author who finds himself betraying those closest to him and who reaps supernatural consequences -- contains liberal helpings of Carroll's delightfully eccentric characters and unusual details, written with Carroll's usual precision.And it has Carroll's trademark highly imaginative magical touches -- you'd be amazed how scared Carroll can make you with a pair of white gloves, a hat, and some wind-up birds.But it also has a tidy -- and highly disquieting -- conclusion; perhaps the best Carroll has ever created.That, and the comparatively little space the fantastic elements take up in the book, make this a likely good entry point for readers new to Carroll's work.

And, for those who are new to Carroll's work, I suggest finding an entry point.Carroll is a one-of-a-kind fantasist and one of the best authors working today; he should have cross-genre appeal for anyone who admires excellent writing and original thinking.Check him out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Family Friendship Love Jealousy Deceit Crime and Punishment
Short but intense novel on hardships of growing up, even later in life as an adult. Carroll's first book is one powerful account of an anti-hero, who is bullied and ignored in his childhood as a weak, unimportant character, left to envy others and hate himself. As suspected, his past catches up eventually, even in Vienna, thousands of miles away from home. The story drives its power from the honesty of its narrator, ringing so true that one thinks it is possibly relying on some real-life experience: a.k.a. first novel being biographical. Very interesting, original in its ideas on misperception and mistreatment of others and of oneself. I compare this one favorably against the critically appraised, award winning Carroll book "Land of Laughs".

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and disquieting
This is a wonderfully original and understated novel: a coming-of-age story with a mystery at its heart, embellished with fantasy elements that become stronger and more integral as the book heads to its conclusion. Unlike much fantasy writing these days, there's no unnecessary padding here; rather, you're left wanting more.

The setting (predominantly Vienna) is evoked with a nicely economic style, while the (few) characters come to life naturally through their words and actions. The creeping unease builds gradually, and is never overdone - and the ending packs a considerable punch. I enjoyed it immensely, although if you like your fiction strictly explicable and grounded in reality you may find some of the developments a touch difficult to swallow.

This recently came back into print in the UK; if you can get hold of a copy, do: you can read it in an evening and you won't be disappointed. ... Read more

11. Glass Soup
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 320 Pages (2006-11-28)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765311801
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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For connoisseurs of imaginative fiction, the novels of Jonathan Carroll are a special treat that occupy a space all their own. His surreal fictions, which deftly mix the everyday with the extraordinary, have won him a devoted following. Now, in Glass Soup, Carroll continues to astound . . . .
The realm of the dead is built from the dreams--and nightmares--of the living. Octopuses drive buses. God is a polar bear. And a crowded highway literally leads to hell.
Once before, Vincent Ettrich and his lover, Isabelle Neukor, crossed over from life to death and back again. Now Isabelle bears a very special child, who may someday restore the ever-changing mosaic that is reality. Unless the agents of Chaos can lure her back to the land of the dead--and trap her there forever.
Glass Soup is another exquisite and singular creation from the author January magazine described as "incapable of writing a bad book much less an uninteresting one."
... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read in a LONG while...
I found this book during a random trip to Goodwill. Most of the times I've gone there I'll come out with a couple books that end up being nice additions to my collection. Most times, though, I usually don't find books that are just spot-on for my taste using this method. Living in the Bible Belt, there aren't just a whole lot of second hand books with metaphysical and surreal themes. Jonathan Carroll is known for his magical realism, and I love some magic (read: any fantastic stories, not just witch/troll/fairies etc). However, I really don't like when authors go overboard with saccharine characters and perfectly predictable plots which end up with everything exactly as it should and all are happy and woodland critters help you clean your room and sing Disney songs to you... If you feel me.

In this book the afterlife is created out of the dreams and subconscious thoughts a person had while they were alive. Danger is following a living woman named Isabelle and her unborn child, whose birth will effect all of existence and the balance of power between Chaos and Order. The only person who can help her is a dead man who may not even know he is dead yet.

I made the mistake of reading this book without knowing it is actually a sequel to another book by Carroll, called White Apples. I had no idea it was a sequel until after I was done but it really didn't matter. This book is fine as an independent and worked well as a stand-alone, and I think that says something. (Although I will now be finding White Apples and reading it asap if its half as good as this one - but I hear its even better!)

3-0 out of 5 stars Half-baked.
Anyone who's read my reviews before knows that I relish an author being able to...well...effectively play God. Of course, anyone who writes a novel 'plays God', but many do it without conviction, or alacrity, or effectiveness. So when a writer tells a story with panache, I'm like a giddy child.

That's the state I was anticipating being in when I began reading 'Glass Soup'. But over the course of its 300+ pages, this faded. As did my hope of a great experience.

There's a ton missing in this book.

And it seems to have been off-kilter by about seventeen and a half degrees.


And Mr. Carroll doesn't deliver what to these eyes, to this expectant reader, should have been delivered.

In many respects, 'Glass Soup' turns out to be a 'shaggy dog tale'. Which, considering its potential, and Mr. Carroll's abilities as a writer and a storyteller, is especially frustrating.

There is no 'payoff'. There is no great philosophical insight. And really, once you've gotten to the final page, there's not much of anything. Except disappointment.

And, as I don't feel the novel deserves any more energies lavished on it, lambasting or no, I'll say this: 'Glass Soup' reads like a bad translation. I'd be very curious to know if it turned out as he'd hoped...or was it as disappointing a result to write as it was to read.

(Personal rating: 6/10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dying's not all it's cracked up to be!
Speaking of cracked, this is another Jonathan Carroll book. What else could we expect? This time we are introduced to characters who are dead - except when they were but aren't. Or is it they were alive but they were also dead? Maybe none of that is true.

What is true is that this is a very funny book. Carroll, for those of you who haven't read him (yet), knows how to put together a story. Sometimes they are put together better than at other times, but they are always interesting to read.

Creative to the max, we get to tour both our world and the world of the dead - actually one person's world of the dead. I recommend this one highly. It is easily read over a weekend and will help your attitude as you head into Monday.

1-0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into this one
I've anxiously awaited every Jonathan Carroll since I got hooked reading From The Teeth of Angels back in 91.But his later works have started to dim that anticipation.From Marriage of Sticks until this book, my enjoyment seems to be on a steadily downward path.

What drew me to Carroll was his fantastic ability to create a scene from the "normal" world, and then show us what really lies underneath.The fantastic and metaphysical that turns the first view on its head.

With this book he seems to jump into a swirling pool of the metaphysical and it doesn't seem to bear any relation to the "normal" world.If others enjoy that type of book, good.But for me it is unsettling enough that I'll read reviews before I automatically pick up the next Carroll book (unless its a reprint of an earlier great work that I've not been able to acquire yet).

5-0 out of 5 stars couldn't put this one down
This was my first time reading jonathan carroll and I really enjoyed it.Wasn't sure at first beacause I didn't know anything about him besides what I read in a review.I cannot wait to read more! ... Read more

12. Sleeping in Flame
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-10-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$3.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765311860
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Walker Easterling is a retired actor turned successful screenwriter living in the Vienna of strong coffee, fascinating friends, and mysterious cafes. When he falls in love with Maris York, a beautiful artist who creates cities, his life becomes alive in fantastic and unsettling ways. As Walker's love for Maris grows, his life gets more and more bizarre-he discovers he can see things happening just before they happen, and at the same time feels an incredibly strong tug from his past-so a friend steers him to Venasque, an odd little man reputed to be a powerful shaman. Venasque helps Walker discover and unravel his many interconnected past lives, and it is soon clear that an unresolved conflict from these past lives has resurfaced, and now threatens to undo Walker and Maris's love.

At once lyrical, frightening, funny, and sexy, Sleeping in Flame is a spellbinding tale where reality and fantasy merge in astonishing convolutions of magic and suspense. It confirms that Jonathan Carroll is one of the very few novelists who-by constantly surprising us-give us an entirely new perspective on our world. It is no wonder that he is generally considered to be the most original and provocative novelist of his generation.
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Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sleeping in Flame-good contemporary fantasy
Was pleasantly surprized by this author, having read this I went scouting for more.
He's a bit like Tim Powers, writing of the strange or the weird.
So, if you are a fan of things that go on behind or below or where ever - I recommend him.
p.s. - If this novel gets you interested try "The Wooden Sea" as your next Jonathan Carroll treat.
Of the 4 books from Mr Caroll I've read it's my top pick.

4-0 out of 5 stars Modern day fairy tale!
I really enjoyed this fairy-tale like book... well, I didn't really love the ending, but overall, I enjoyed all of the magic that made it up until the end. The ending was just a little too open for me and makes me wonder if he will write (or has written) a sequel. Also, for a story twenty years old, it was very immediate, which was quite nice. I loved his writing and will read his other books. I liked this Rumpelstiltskin story quite a bit.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of our great fantasists.
Jonathan Carroll is one of our great writers. His imaginative, surprising, beautiful novels always stay with me, and this is one of my favorites.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not fantasy, but pseudo, new-age spirituality
Okay, clearly I'm in the minority here.I purchased this book because so many people put it on their list of best nontraditional fantasy novels.This is not, however a book in the fantasy genre.It falls more in the tradition of books like The Alchemist, that is to say, books of the "the magic is within you" type of spirtualality.Unlike The Alchemist, however, the story takes forever to unfold, and in order to even get to the old, Jewish shaman who likes to watch Miami Vice on TV, you first have to read through 100 pages of nothing.The narrator's romantic interest is a supermodel whom we are supposed to like because she's a slob and drives a car without a heater.Or as the author puts it: "she drove the way she spoke: nervously, a little too fast, but clearly in control."If that kind of writing appeals to you, perhaps you will like this book.But nothing happens until almost page 100 and by that point I was bored to death. The book gets two stars simply because the author can write well.Unfortunately, to me, he didn't choose anything to write well about.If you like Vienna, you might like this book as Carroll describes the city in as much loving detail as he describes the narrator's supermodel girlfriend.But the narrative about the city is just as monotonous as everything else -- it feels like its only in there to prove that Carroll speaks German and has spent a lot of time in Vienna.If you like Carlos Castaneda, Paolo Coehlo or were one of the many who fell in love with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, maybe you'll like this book -- I'm not aiming this review at you, it just isn't my cup of tea.I'm posting so that people who dislike this kind of material will know that this isn't for them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another good Carroll book
I am a huge fan of Carroll, having read almost every single one if his books.Sleeping in Flame, the most recent of his books I have finished, is a decent book that blends the fantastic into the everyday life of reality.The dialogue is believable and the plot twists are fun.

Two minor faults.Having read Outside the Dog Museum I felt the Venasque scene was all too familiar, giving the feeling that I had already read that part of the book.Additionally, sometimes the plot is a little forced.All of a sudden Carroll writes, "And this is the dream I had", or "This is what happened" rather than telling and showing the reader.

Don't get me wrong.I still enjoyed Sleeping In Flame.The book is an enjoyable fast read that takes bits of pieces of common folkloric information everyone is familiar with and weaves it into a tale.I would certainly recommend other Carroll books such as After Silence or The Wooden Sea, but in the end I would recommend this book as well.

3.5 stars. ... Read more

13. Bones of the Moon
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 224 Pages (2002-05-03)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312873123
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Cullen James is a young woman whose life dictates her dreams-and whose dreams control her life.

In her first dream, she found the perfect man-and the same thing promptly happened in life. Now, she has begun to dream dreams set in Rondua, a fantasy world of high adventure, full of tests of her courage and strength. Slowly and quietly, her dream world is spilling over into her New York City reality and beginning to threaten everything she loves in life. Her friends are gathered to help her-but even her newfound courage may not be enough.
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Customer Reviews (29)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Concept
I've read Carroll's Land of Laughs and found his characterization very impressive in that particular book, although I felt his plot bottomed out toward the ending as it abandoned those previously established traits.

With Bones of the Moon, however, I never really connected with his protagonist, Cullen James, or her friends and family.While they had interesting backgrounds, they simply didn't feel real to me.Because of this, and what I consider awkward dialogue, I couldn't fully immerse myself in Bones of the Moon.

I would like to note that Carroll had an incredible concept.I especially enjoyed the role of abortion in the novel and the psychological undertones that resulted.Carroll did a remarkably nice job of leaving the specifics of the fantasy world that his main character travels to rather vague.At one point, you think that she is slipping into Rondua during her dreams, but then you suspect that it's just the opposite: that Cullen is sliding into our world from Rondua.But then, just when you've about made up your mind one way or the other, Carroll hints that perhaps this is all simply in her head--the mind's way of dealing with an unhealed emotional scar.And then the end of the novel arrives, and all three of these possibilities converge, and you're left with no answers at all.

If this sounds complicated, it is.And, had the dialogue been just a little more practical, I think things might have been different for me.But the dialogue tended to teeter on the edge of hyperbole, and this took me right out of the novel.

I won't give up on Carroll, though.The two novels I've read by him have had some extraordinary qualities and it's obvious that his imagination is superb.Perhaps I'll try one of his more recent works and see what I think since the two I've read were from before 1988.

It should be noted, by the way, that Carroll had rave reviews for Bones of the Moon by none other than Stephen King himself, so take that into consideration.

~Scott William Foley, author of Souls Triumphant

3-0 out of 5 stars not his best
This is the fourth book I've read by this author, and my least favorite.It's the story of Cullen, a young woman living in NYC who eventually falls in love and marries, and then begins to dream about a magical land where she enters into a quest with her aborted son and their animal companions.

What I have loved about Carroll in his other books is his effortless narration, which makes the appearance of magical elements quite interesting; in this book however, his style is clunky and off-putting (perhaps purposefully, but still not appreciated), making the dream world as well as the "real" world places full of awkward dialogue and groping action.There's a reason we don't want to hear oher people's dreams in lengthy detail, and this protagonist's dreams are no exception.I agree completely with the reviewer who said that Cullen's dream world is just a boring place with silly names.I plodded through to the end, hoping that a writer as talented as Carroll would somehow pull it out of the trash heap toward the end, but no such luck.

IMHO, if youreally like this author and want to read everything he's written, go ahead; but if you are new to this author, don't let this be your first of his novels.There are others, much better than this.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Bedtime Story
I don't place this at the top of Carroll's efforts. There were a few places where it seemed he was maybe going to go back and fill in, but didn't get around to it. A couple of the characters virtually disappear in the last third of the book. The ending seemed rushed and incomplete.

The series of dreams by Cullen are based on her guilt about a decision she had made a few years earlier. The surreal happenings in the dreams are interestingly handled but they didn't really draw me in.

Even though I didn't particularly like this, I do look forward to reading more of Carroll's books.

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Planted John Updike in Wonderland...
Bones of the Moon is a down-the-rabbit-hole sort of fantasy, one that begins in a wholly real Manhattan and ends up traveling through Rondua, a land strange and whimsical enough to rival Poictesme or the Dreamlands or Neverland. The intrusion of the strange in this novel is gradual, the kind of slow seepage one finds in Shirley Jackson or Robert Aickman, and readers will find themselves believing in the thoroughly real world of the protagonists as easily as they will the adventures set in the land of Rondua. It's difficult to talk in detail about the characters and the plot without giving the entire story away, but suffice it to say that everything in the book, however fantastic, develops from a major turning point in the life of Cullen James, Bones' protagonist.

This short novel will appeal to readers who like both thoughtful fantasy and domestic tales. A great part of the story is concerned with the relationship between Cullen and her husband Danny, and the minutiae of their lives, albeit subtly influenced by the fantastic. Carroll, an American-born author residing in Vienna, has won notable literary awards in the U.S., Britain, France, and elsewhere. His skills are on fine display here, from his eerily apt descriptions of imaginary geographies to his nuanced descriptions of Cullen James' reactions to the events that overwhelm her life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid But Not His Best
I have read only 2 books by Jonathan Carroll, Bones of the Moon and Sleeping if Flame. Both I enjoyed a lot, as they entered fictional corners I hadn't explored before. Both books support the murmuring literary contention that Carroll is a cult following waiting to happen. Entrenched firmly in Magical Realism, both books are of the same ilk, clearly written by the same author, entrenched in the same mindset. Dark, magical, out of left field, Carroll brings unique words to the page in an interesting and readable way.

I don't believe Bones of the Moon is on par with Sleeping in Flame, but it's still an enjoyable read. A bit more arcane and off the wall than Flame, Bones takes some strange turns which might stretch the 'realism' aspect of magical realism. That would be my primary complaint with this book, that this really has a dual-identity, half in reality and half not, as opposed to merging them in balance. He tries to get away with it because he calls it a dream, which seems a bit of a copout to me.

Readers of Carroll - even one as inexperienced as myself - can't be surprised when these worlds collide, since this style appears to be his MO. While I found myself riveted by the story, especially as it drew to a close, what I found when I got there wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the build-up. The base of the pyramid has a good foundation, but lacks the crowning achievement which makes it a pyramid. I find the exact reason hard to pinpoint, but it left me empty, something having been drained out of me, like Carroll himself describes in the text.

After Bones, I will probably take some time off from reading Carroll for 3 reasons. These reasons can be used to asses what I think of Carroll as an author. The first is that I don't want to eat through his entirely library of books in 2 months like I did with Tom Robbins years ago. Unlike Robbins, his books are not long, so you can easily consume them in a full day if you are so inclined. Secondly, there's a very unique groove to his work, and if you read too many at one time, it becomes a rut. Not allowing yourself to step back can cause you to miss the proverbial forest, something Carroll so richly grows in his works. Finally, there are plenty of other excellent books out there waiting to be read, Carroll's among them. Combining the 3 reasons, this leads me to believe that variety is the absolute way to go with Carroll.

In trying to guess what potential reader might enjoy this, I imagine the expression Magical Realism will turn off an obvious segment who want no part of it. Those still interested might as well go out and pick up one of his books. They aren't any more arcane than Tom Robbins' Skinny Legs And All, given the cast of characters there. Still, the 2 lines are not entirely parallel, as Robbins and Carroll write in very divergent styles. But it's not outlandish to say that readers of one may very well enjoy works of the other.

Without giving away plot details, there's little more to say about the book. Since I didn't dwell on the negative for more than a few sentences, that should give the potential reader a clear idea that I enjoyed the book. Indeed, I look forward to reading everything he has written...in time. His worlds are fascinating and his words are smooth as silk, drawing you in and not letting you go until the final page. But be warned, this author is most certainly not for everyone. ... Read more

14. The Wooden Sea: A Novel
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-02-09)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$8.05
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765300133
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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From the moment a three-legged dog limps into the life of Police Chief Frannie McCabe and drops dead at his feet, McCabe finds himself in a new world of disturbing miracles. His small town of Crane's View, New York has long been a haven of harmony and comfort--but now he finds himself afflicted by the inexplicable, by omens that converge to throw his life into doubt. And what he does over the next few days may have consequences for the whole world . . . .
Amazon.com Review
Frannie McCabe was an obnoxious juvenile delinquent in his teens, but has settled down into comfortable middle age in the small town of Crane's Viewas its chief of police; like other Jonathan Carroll protagonists, the heroof The Wooden Sea is about to find himself caught up in uncannygoings-on. First a dog walks into his office and drops dead--moreimportantly, it will not stay buried. Then a quarreling couple simplydisappears, and then Frannie finds himself haunted by his younger, moreabrasive self, and by visions of the last day of his life, as an old manabout to be knocked down by a motorbike in Vienna.

What all this means and what lessons Frannie is supposed to take from itall are where the questions lie; anyone who has read an earlier Carrollnovel will know the sorts of thing that are liable to happen, the sorts ofthing that they are likely to mean--but any reader of an earlier Carrollnovel will almost certainly be buying any of his books they can get holdof, anyway. This is an inventive and moving fantasy by a writer who more orless defined dark fantasy as a critical term. --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (61)

3-0 out of 5 stars Where did the Kindle version go?
I read the Kindle free sample last night and liked it so today I tried to buy it and it's gone!?What's up with that?

4-0 out of 5 stars This book was kind of crazy, but a lot of fun to read!
It was exciting and had some truly hilarious moments. The ending was a bit disappointing, but I am not sure that a more conclusive ending would have been any more satisfying, really. I think I enjoyed _Sleeping in Flame_ more, but this book was a lot of fun to read. It was very different... Although there was some acknowledgment given to _Back to the Future_, which was nice. I really did enjoy this and I do wish that there was more to the story overall... A sequel would be nice!

5-0 out of 5 stars another brilliant gem from a writer who has talent, skill and imagination
I love to read, always have.I cast a wide net, and though I find pleasure in reading beloved authors, I am also on a constant hunt -- looking for a worthwhile mind to follow.A few months ago I "found" Jonathan Carroll, an American who has lived in Vienna for many years.Over the years I have "found" Richard Russo, Jane Smiley, Larry Beinhart et al, and it's such a joy -- to be able to read so many of their works in short order, and then follow their career, their artistry.I feel thrilled to be in the midst of reading Jonathan Carroll's books right now.

Carroll's style is accessible and seamless.His descriptions read naturally and yet convey a wealth of information.His characters are quickly captured yet still intriguing, hinting at fascinating complexities you must think about at your leisure because there is something even MORE interesting happening over there, in the next sentence.Carroll's mind is full of interesting turns and nooks, his novels based in realistic people facing surrealistic events, and learning from them.

Carroll's novels entertain AND provoke thought, and The Wooden Sea is no exception.Frannie McCabe is the police chief of a small town.His life is filled with remarkable people, but he has time to reflect on his relationships and his misspent youth as he attends to duty.On this day, McCabe takes in a three-legged dog, and from that point on, the story veers into a collision between the "normal" and whats-happening-now, with grounded, flawed Frannie McCabe as our guide.

If you enjoy fine writing, meaty description, interesting characters and life's big questions, I think you should give this novel (and others by Jonathan Carroll) a try.If you already know Carroll's work, then yes, it is as good as his others.Also, check out his web site for some wonderful short stories and screenplays.


3-0 out of 5 stars A Splintery Riptide
A longtime lover of literature, I once asked a blind date if she was into books."Books are alright," she said."Although I prefer nonfiction.And I definitely don't have time for magical realism."

That phrase -- "I don't have time for magical realism." -- became sort of a running gag among my book loving friends and I.Maybe we're just mocking a world that brooks the supernatural less and less each day, or maybe we're just thumbing our noses at the idea that dream lives are only the domain of the asleep.

Whatever the case, it's certainly true that Magical Realism as a genre doesn't have quite the profile of, say, Fantasy.Even buffered by the brilliance of people like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison, the genre seems to exist in the same misty half-worlds as the characters it generates.

Carroll's oeuvre makes a great case for the style, but not in any consistent fashion (a flaw common for this kind of fiction).His first book, The Land of Laughs, was a fun but mordant look at the nature of fate, fear, and the art of writing.It was tightly plotted, but just as madcap as anything written by that other, more notable, Carroll.Since then, Jonathan Carroll has made a decent living tickling the imaginations of loyal readers everywhere.

Like most of his books, THE WOODEN SEA offers the proposition that surrealism is more than a quaint diversion or (at worst) a camping ground for antisocial obssessives.In spite of its loopy plot and complete overhaul of common narrative conventions, it has a message to make.In fact, its canon has much to do with the genre itself."Don't forget how to dream.Don't forget that anything is possible.Don't throw away your youth when you finally grow up."

These are okay points for a book to make (if not a little chewy-sweet), and Carroll's story -- about a juvenile delinquent-turned-police chief named Frannie who awakens one day to a world of Spirit Dogs, Magical Feathers, time travel, prescient heroin addicts, and otherworldly beings -- doesn't let the goofiness goof up the touching spirit of the book.There's a definite measure of heart and well-phrased soul to the story.

But there's also a lot of sloppy edges and unbridled bravado.Carroll has a vivid imagination, but it seems as if that was the only thing he used to write this book.Breaking rules isn't a bad thing, when you're talking about common conventions of Story or Plot, but this book reads painfully as if it were made up on the spot.Themes other than those mentioned are taken up and discarded at a whim.Story arcs dead-end or are sometimes forgotten entirely.And there are so many loose ends, the denoument reads like shag carpeting.

In spite of its sweetness, the novel suffers from a lack of boundaries.After all, even magic has its rules.If you're interested in Carroll -- and you should be -- I'd recommend his earlier works over this one (although I haven't read everything he's written).And if, unlike my blind date, you DO have time for magical realism, for my money you can't beat ANYTHING written by Jonathan Lethem.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Wooden Spoon....
This was a very odd book and not a book I would normally pick up and read.I was captured by the humor and the idea of this very strange plot.It's unique qualities kept my interest. The story is about McCabe.He is a cop in the town he grew up in.He is on his second marriage to a woman he really loves and a step father to Pauline.It was nice to see a good relationship between the step-parent and step-child for a change.One day a strange, crippled dog wanders into town and McCabe adopts him. Only to see him die shortly after.This is the catalyst that triggers the start of a bunch of surrealistic events.I think I understood one of the lessons this book was trying to teach and that was, every part of your life is important and helps build you into the man or woman you will become.However, I think there was more to this book, a deeper meaning that I just didn't get.And of course, the ending made me scratch my head and try and figure out all the loose ends.I can't say I really loved this book but it was so odd, I know I will never forget it. ... Read more

15. Conjunctions: 54, Shadow Selves
by Elizabeth Hand, Jonathan Carroll, Karen Russell
Paperback: 364 Pages (2010-06-30)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0941964701
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The mirror is humankind's most duplicitous invention. When we look into it do we see ourselves or an other? If we see an other, is that other a lie or some complex extension of a truth we don't quite grasp? And when we set down the mirror and imagine ourselves to be one or the other or some combination of both, who have we become? In this special issue of Conjunctions, the very idea of self is tackled in fiction and poetry that investigates everything from innocent misperception to studied deception, delusion to fraud, crazed misdemeanors to premeditated crime. Shadow Selves offers a spectrum of permutations on these themes, with acclaimed and upcoming writers such as Elizabeth Hand, J.W. McCormack, Jonathan Carroll, Karen Russell, Peter Straub, Eleni Sikelianos, Frederick Tuten, Michael Sheean, Jason Labbe, Jess Row, Rae Armantrout, Melinda Moustakis and Rick Moody. ... Read more

16. Outside the Dog Museum
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 272 Pages (2005-06-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$7.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765311852
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Harry Radcliffe is a brilliant prize-winning architect---witty and remarkable. He's also a self-serving opportunist, ready to take advantage of whatever situations, and women, come his way. But now, newly divorced and having had an inexplicable nervous breakdown, Harry is being wooed by the extremely wealthy Sultan of Saru to design a billion-dollar dog museum. In Saru, he finds himself in a world even madder and more unreal than the one he left behind, and as his obsession grows, the powers of magic weave around him, and the implications of his strange undertaking grow more ominous and astounding....
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars another interesting and surreal novel from Carroll
Harry Radcliffe lives a complicated life.He's a brilliant architect (if he does say so himself) who's recently recovered from a nervous breakdown.He has two mistresses and a demanding shaman, and now he's being corralled into designing the sultan of Saru's dog museum.Could things get more complicated?Oh yes they can, and do, under the skillful pen of Jonathan Carroll, American magical realist and author of fascinating, intricate novels about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

If you are familiar with Carroll, Outside the Dog Museum will be as good as you've come to expect from this fine author; if you are not familiar with Carroll, do your mind a favor and expand it a bit!

Also, check out the author's web site for short stories, plays, etc.:www.jonathancarroll.com

3-0 out of 5 stars Jonathan Carroll's writing is just like caviar
Everyone tells you how good it is, and if you see it at a party you will almost certainly have some, but not many people will drive to the grocery store at midnight to get some.

I enjoyed the book and it certainly is well written and contains some absolutely wonderful turns of phrase but it just isn't something that I can get really wrapped up in.

The story basically just seems to go along until we reach the end. There are some revelations, some tragedy, some triumphbut in the end it just really doesn't do that much for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating literary trek into magical realism courtesy of Jonathan Carroll
When the likes of fantasy authors as diverse as Neil Gaiman, Peter Straub and Jonathan Lethem are praising Jonathan Carroll's work, offering it the finest compliments that they can muster, then you know that Carroll is an author worthy of your attention (All three provided memorable blurbs in the back cover of this book's paperback edition.). Truly, without question, Carroll is both a memorable writer and a fine literary stylist. However, at least not in "Outside the Dog Museum", should he be regarded as a writer of fantasy. Instead, I concur with another reviewer who noted that this novel is truly a philosophical novel draped in moments of magical realism. Carroll's usage of magical realism may not be as beguiling as those from the likes of Borges and Garcia Marquez for example, but nonetheless, he manages to do a fine job of it in this novel.

Caroll's fine prose is written in a breezy, almost conversational, style, that works well in his depictions of the protagonist, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Harry Radcliffe, and his intense personal and romantic relationship with both of his mistresses, Claire and Fanny, who know each other well. After winning his award - and recovering from a recent divorce through the aid of a bizarre mental therapist - Radcliffe is offered a commission by the Sultan of Saru - a fictitious Gulf State emirate - to be a dog museum in honor of the sultan's late father, the previous ruler of the emirate. What follows is a series of fascinating, and occasionally confusing, adventures and misadventures for Harry Radcliffe set in both the emirate and Vienna, Austria - where the museum is ultimately built. Not only must he contend with his complex personal relationships with both of his mistresses and his therapist, Harry is unexpectedly confronted with a fundamentalist Islamic rebellion against the Sultan of Saru within his emirate. Until the very end Carroll does a fine literary juggling act, but his less than memorable conclusion is the main reason why his fine novel isn't earning my highest praise.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hmmm.What to think...
I liked it.I liked its hopefulness.It read a lot like The Wooden Sea.Sorry, but it does.

I've been reading his work since The Land of Laughs.I like what he does, but I have to say it's starting to get a little repetitive.Don't get me wrong: each novel is enjoyable, just a bit repetitive.

2-0 out of 5 stars a dog of a book
the blurb on the back cover "Harry Radcliffe is a brilliant prize-winning architect--witty and remarkable"(Really?I'm Sooo impressed.)He's also a self-serving opportunist, ready to take advantage of whatever situation, and women, come his way."(A man who is READY!However ooops--) But now, newly divorced and having had an inexplicable" (mysterious) nervous breakdown,"(Not our hero!) "Harry is being wooed" (wooed, mind you) by the extremely wealthy"(I guess they mean really rich) "Sultan of Saru to design a billion dollar dog museum." (What a GREAT plot.The sultan, the dogs, remarkable Harry)In Saru he (Harry) finds himself in a world even madder and more unreal than the one he left behind" (Where did he live? Glendale?)"and as his obsession (Yes the obsession) grows, the powers of magic weave around him," (Like Harry Potter) "and the implications of his strange undertaking grow more and more ominous and astounding..."I could only get a ways into this epic before I realized I was crossing the line into madness myself. ... Read more

17. The Marriage of Sticks
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-11-04)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312872437
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A hip young woman sees an uncanny old woman in a wheelchair by the freeway in the middle of nowhere. Back home in New York City, she falls in love and marries an older man. When they go to live in a large old house in the suburbs, she begins to see apparitions. Then, as in the best vintage Carroll, things get really strange.Amazon.com Review
Jonathan Carroll is a writer other writers envy.He's been described as a "cult favorite" whose works go out of print too quickly in the USA, despitehis popularity in Europe and the admiration of reviewers.It may be because Carroll uses fantastic elements, but doesn't write genre fantasy; his books are often haunting, even frightening, but they're not horror novels. He puzzles you, surprises you, and always makes you think about how what he's saying might apply to your life.

In The Marriage of Sticks, Miranda Romanac is a thirtysomethingdealer in rarities who loves her work and lifestyle, but feels unfulfilled.As her friend Zoe says,

you don't expect anything better to happen because you've lived too long and seen too much to have any more hope. I'm luckier than you.I don't think life's very friendly either, but I know wecan control hope.You can turn it on and off like a spigot.I tryto keep mine on full blast.

Miranda struggles to change her life after upsetting revelations at a highschool reunion. She has an affair with a married man who leaves his wifeand children for her.She lives with ghosts of her past and future, withwhat might have been and could be. She's forced to face the consequences ofher actions and the effect she has on others' lives by being who she is.Finally, she learns "to live without everything" and be content. --NonaVero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful novel that will make you think
Nobody disputes Jonathan Carroll's writing ability.He has a wonderful style and paints word portraits deftly.Some might not appreciate that surrealist elements appear in an otherwise straightforward novel.My mother, for example, hates anything that is animated or allegorical. She likes reality.I, on the other hand, enjoy the odd whimsy, the burning questions, the what-the-heck-was-that element of surprise that inhabits Carroll's narrative.He is a pleasure to read, at all times, period.

This story is told in the first person by Miranda, a dealer in antiquities and oddities for eccentric Manhattanites. A high school reunion starts us off, as we join our angsty but mainly sympathetic narrator in media res, just before she meets the love of her life -- a married man.Miranda knows lots of interesting people who do interesting things, and she is about to have some amazing things happen to her.

Whether or not you think you might not enjoy magical elements with your fiction, Carroll is a gifted writer with a fascinating story to tell -- what's not to enjoy?I am going to give my mother a copy and see if I can win her over to the surreal side.You should take a chance too!

5-0 out of 5 stars There's a door in the air.
You are sitting in your chair reading, The Marriage of Sticks, by Jonathan Carrol, and suddenly there's a door flying on air.You don't think twice about the improbability of this strange appearance, but get up and turn the knob.Suddenly an aroma of every Christmas that wasn't spoiled cascades into your room...freshly baked cookies, cinnamon and spice, and everything nice. Now down the chimney comes a nightmare.It pulls up a chair beside you and is prepared to stay.
You can put the book down.But memories are whizzing by like traffic on the Autobahn and surely illumination is near.
Jonathan Carroll is a box of chocolates, the wind behind the door, the shadow that takes shape and draws you in.The Marriage of Sticks is about so much more than selfishness and sacrifice.If the doorbell rings while you're reading it - answer.It could be wonder come to call.

3-0 out of 5 stars Marriage of Sticks...a novel of paranormal occurrences
A strange novel!

I'd found this title by chance; I'd been perusing some reviews on a fantasy title and a reviewer had mentioned this work as a interesting read.

Rather than a true fantasy story, I'd have to classify this book in the paranormal horror (mild) genre. I must admit this is not one of my favorite themes and as a result, this tale did not really work for me.

The story itself is well written and easy to read; it starts very innocently (so benignly in fact, that I almost quit this book after the first chapter or so because I was bored) and then proceeds to get more "strange" as it winds its way toward its conclusion.

This novel was not exactly what I was looking or hoping for, but I 'm sure there are readers that enjoy this genre and may very well be pleased with this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Essential contemporary fantasy
After reading 5 of Jonathan Carroll's novels, I am certain of this much: his stories, told in clear and urbane prose, are compelling page-turners that, much like British fantasist Graham Joyce's, straddle the threshold of reality and fantasy.In The Marriage of Sticks, Miranda, his first-person elderly narrator, recounts in her journal a life turned upside down after mysterious, seemingly coincidental occurrences begin taking place after attending a 15-year class reunion.

What's so enjoyable about Carroll's writing is the investment he puts in to his protagonists.Miranda is no different: I found her to be a sympathetic, flawed, and likable narrator. Which is why the explanation of the strange phenomena in Miranda's life, revealed in the book's second half, left me a tad befuddled.Without giving too much away, it was hard for me to believe this character, who seemed to go through life without treating others with too much malice or magnanimity, was declared by Carroll as a metaphorical vampire!

Now, Miranda seems neither more or less of a vampire than the rest of human kind, and that may be Carroll's point: to make his readers examine themselves and question their own actions.If Miranda is selfish though appears otherwise, might we also be guilty of a similar selfishness? Might our actions, like Miranda's, reverberate with all of those we touch in the world?

Needless to say, The Marriage of Sticks is filled with wonderful observations about life - as are all of Carroll's books.Unfortunately, also like his other books, the fantasy element, the metaphysics that make up the Carroll-world, feel incomplete and are rendered a bit sloppily: too much explanation through dialogue of his surreal world, which eliminates much of the story's mystery.Of course, this short changing of a richer fantasy world is one of the reasons The Marriage of Sticks can clock in at under 300 pages.Ironically, one of Carroll's comendable traits is his ability to write such taut novels.

I really enjoyed The Marriage of Sticks, and also highly recommend the related, semi-sequel The Wooden Sea.Carroll's books, regardless of your opinion on their merits, are essential reading to understanding what's happening in contemporary fantasy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Provocative Entertainment
As someone recently bit by the Carroll bug, I may not be the most impartial critic. Still I found this book was very enjoyable. I understand the swiftly shifting underlying cosmology of the novel will lose many readers. But it is this which drew me in deeper. Yes, the characters may seem alittle too privledged to connect with some but the underpinnings are sound. I like the fact that while Miranda is sympathetic that when the revelation about her character comes we are not unaware of her personal flaws up to this point. The key to much of the characterization is though we like the characters, we can see their shortcomings. How often do you see that?!

Also having read The Wooden Sea first, I was thrilled to see Frannie again. It should be noted that Kissing The Beehive, this novel, and The Wooden Sea make a rather discrete trilogy of novels. While indvidual stories, they certainly lend a certain resonance to each other.

So if you want something that entertains and provokes thought, you can't go wrong with Carroll. Not the best place to start - I read Sleeping in Flame first but would recommend The Wooden Sea as a good place to start - but still very good. Then again just pick one and jump in. Well worth the time. ... Read more

by Jonathan Carroll, William F. Nolan, Ian Watson, R. Garcia Y. Robertson, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Robert Morrish Interviews Dean Koontz Weird Tales
 Paperback: Pages (1991-01-01)

Asin: B000P0UI6G
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19. Kissing the Beehive
by Jonathan Carroll
Paperback: 256 Pages (2000-08-10)
list price: US$14.45 -- used & new: US$59.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0575402911
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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When bestselling novelist Sam Bayer decides it's time he wrote his "Great Book", he chooses as his subject the death of a teenage beauty, Pauline Ostrova - the 'Beehive'. The town of Crane's view never felt the same after he discovered her body, floating in the lake, over twenty years before. Her boyfriend, Edward Durant, was arrested for the murder, tried and imprisoned. He died in Sing Sing jail. Sam Bayer's new book will tell her story, bring her to life again, and restore something of what the town had lost. But, for Samuel Bayer, the journey into his past becomes a terrifying jolt into the reality of the present. Bayer's gesture of respect to his youth turns sour in the face of all that he unearths; for many of the people close to him, this leads to devastating - and fatal - consequences. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Carroll's Twin Peaks
Jonathan Carroll, a remarkable author, gives us another gift -- a beautifully written novel with an interesting plot and intriguing characters.

Unlike many of Carroll's other works, this is pretty straightforward.Sam is a successful author who's in the middle of a divorce and has writer's block.With his publisher breathing down his neck, Sam decides to revisit his home town where, as a teenager, he discovered the body of a beautiful and mysterious girl from his high school.He wants to investigate the murder for his next book, and when he arrives in Crane's View NY, he finds that one of his less reputable friends, Frannie McCabe, has become the town sheriff!(McCabe later shows up as the main protagonist in a more surreal Carroll outing, The Wooden Sea.)Together they begin an investigation that will take Sam for a wild ride and end, perhaps, in a new tragedy.

If you haven't read anything by Carroll, please take a chance. He is incredibly exciting and a superb writer, with fascinating characters skillfully developed and natural dialogue.Also, check out his web site for screenplays and short stories: jonathancarroll.com

4-0 out of 5 stars More mystery than fantasy
Carroll is one of my favorite authors and he doesn't dissapoint with "Kissing The Beehive."However, this novel is much more a straight mystery story than Carroll's other efforts that always seem to have several fantastical elements to them.I gave the book only four stars because it was missing that bizarre twist that seems to surface halfway through other Carroll novels (e.g., the dog talking in Land of Laughs).Regardless, I do recommend this book.As with all of Carroll's work, it keeps you totally engrossed in the story till the very end.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Thoroughly Engrossing Mystery
I've long been a fan of Jonathan Carroll's work and only recently picked up _Kissing the Beehive_.It's an excellent tale of a blocked writer (see Donald Westlake's _The Hook_) who goes back to his boyhood hometown to look into the mystery surrounding the death of a girl, whose body he discoveredfloating in the Hudson River.He intends to write the story of what hediscovers and he ultimately discovers the secret.Along the way, we'retreated to a slowly unfolding, very gripping story, including the tragicfigure of a wild fan who first intrigues, then scares our protagonist. Carroll has a gift for writing some of the most poignant characters andscenes--things that really get under your skin and drag you in feet-first. I'm thinking about one memorable scene in which three of our maincharacters are sitting on the porch, sharing jokes and stories, and thewriter-protagonist says something along the lines of "I'm very glad Ihave both of you in my life."I'm very glad there's an author likeJonathan Carroll in mine (too cheesy?).

5-0 out of 5 stars Hurrah! Carroll's best since From the Teeth of Angels
This book had me captivated from the first page.Great mystery.Great characters.Good story!

One of the few authors that can leave the genre I discovered him in (fantasy/scifi) and still captivate me.The only other I can think of off the top of my head is Graham Joyce.

Carroll is great at keeping the reader off balance.

3-0 out of 5 stars okay
This was my second Carroll book, after the fantastic Land of Laughs.It was pretty good for a while, but it got a little boring eventually and really fizzled out at the end.But I'd say it was still worth reading forhis wonderful style of writing.I especially loved the interaction betweenSam and his daughter in the first half of the book. ... Read more

20. Weird Tales 299 (Winter 1990/1991)
Paperback: 148 Pages (1990-12-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809532158
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The special Jonathan Carroll issue (all arwork by Featured Artist Thomas Kidd)inclues 4 stories by Carroll, plus contributions from William F. Nolan, Ian Watson, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and many more. ... Read more

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