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Jonathan Carroll (1) (1949–)

Author of The Land of Laughs

For other authors named Jonathan Carroll, see the disambiguation page.

50+ Works 9,655 Members 250 Reviews 10 Favorited

About the Author

Jonathan Carroll was born in 1949 in Dobbs Ferry, New York, to two artistic parents, Sidney Carroll, a screenwriter whose film credits include The Hustler, starring Paul Newman, and June Carroll, an actress and lyricist. The family migrated between the east and west coasts, while Carroll was show more growing up, finally enrolling him in a boarding school in Connecticut. He developed an interest in writing while in high school and graduated cum laude from Rutgers University. He next pursued a master's degree in creative writing at the University of Virginia. Carroll's first novel, Land of the Laughs, was published in 1980 and was followed by Voice of Our Shadow. His novels are difficult to classify into one genre. The novels are full of fantasy and imagination, yet remain profound. His work inspires cult followings and is especially popular in France and Germany. An expatriate since the 1970s, Carroll lives in Vienna. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: photo by 48states

Series

Works by Jonathan Carroll

The Land of Laughs (1980) 1,446 copies, 47 reviews
Bones of the Moon (1987) 845 copies, 18 reviews
The Wooden Sea (2001) 825 copies, 21 reviews
White Apples (2002) 761 copies, 18 reviews
Sleeping in Flame (1988) 734 copies, 20 reviews
Outside the Dog Museum (1991) 616 copies, 17 reviews
The Marriage of Sticks (1999) 549 copies, 9 reviews
Voice of Our Shadow (1983) 484 copies, 13 reviews
The Ghost in Love (2008) 476 copies, 30 reviews
From the Teeth of Angels (1994) 456 copies, 9 reviews
Glass Soup (2005) 438 copies, 14 reviews
Kissing the Beehive (1998) 357 copies, 4 reviews
After Silence (1992) 336 copies, 2 reviews
A Child Across the Sky (1989) 335 copies, 4 reviews
Bathing the Lion (2013) 184 copies, 11 reviews
The Panic Hand (1996) 172 copies, 1 review
Black Cocktail {novella} (1990) 165 copies, 3 reviews
Mr Breakfast (2019) 79 copies, 2 reviews
The Panic Hand {stories; UK} (1995) 61 copies, 2 reviews
Teaching the Dog to Read {novella} (2015) 41 copies, 1 review
The Crow's Dinner {essays} (2017) 25 copies
Uh-Oh City {novella} (1992) 11 copies
The Loud Table {novella} (2016) 9 copies
Porgee's Boar {short story} (2022) 5 copies, 1 review
Mam Bruise {novella} (2019) 5 copies
Ceffo 5 copies
Mr. Fiddlehead {story} (1989) 3 copies
The Panic Hand {story} (1990) 2 copies, 1 review
A Quarter Past You {story} (1989) 1 copy, 1 review

Associated Works

Stories: All-New Tales (2010) — Contributor — 1,408 copies, 65 reviews
Signal to Noise (1989) — Introduction, some editions — 991 copies, 23 reviews
I Shudder at Your Touch (1991) — Contributor — 550 copies, 7 reviews
Poe's Children: The New Horror: An Anthology (2008) — Contributor — 462 copies, 16 reviews
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: First Annual Collection (1986) — Contributor — 317 copies, 6 reviews
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Eighth Annual Collection (1991) — Contributor — 311 copies, 6 reviews
Sympathy for the Devil (2010) — Contributor — 288 copies, 8 reviews
The Empire of Ice Cream: Stories (2006) — Introduction, some editions — 274 copies, 6 reviews
American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now (2009) — Contributor — 268 copies, 5 reviews
A Whisper of Blood (1991) — Contributor — 257 copies, 2 reviews
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Fourteenth Annual Collection (2001) — Contributor — 249 copies, 2 reviews
Conjunctions: 39, The New Wave Fabulists (2002) — Contributor — 198 copies, 2 reviews
The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Third Annual Collection (1988) — Contributor — 183 copies, 2 reviews
Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer (2010) — Contributor — 132 copies, 26 reviews
Hauntings (2013) — Contributor — 112 copies, 5 reviews
American Fantastic Tales: Boxed Set (2009) — Contributor — 92 copies, 2 reviews
Best New Horror 2 (1991) — Contributor — 79 copies
The Best of Subterranean (2017) — Contributor — 76 copies, 6 reviews
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2012 Edition (2013) — Contributor — 72 copies, 1 review
The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows (2015) — Contributor — 70 copies, 1 review
Dogtales! (1988) — Contributor — 53 copies, 1 review
In Dreams (1992) — Contributor — 52 copies
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: No. 1 (1988) — Contributor — 49 copies
Narrow Houses: Tales of Superstition, Suspense, and Fear (1992) — Contributor — 45 copies, 1 review
Curse of the Full Moon: A Werewolf Anthology (2010) — Contributor — 38 copies, 1 review
Walls of Fear (1990) — Contributor — 34 copies
Drabble II: Double Century (1990) — Contributor — 26 copies
The Stories in Between: A Between Books Anthology (2009) — Contributor — 24 copies
Weird Tales Volume 52 Number 2, Winter 1990/91 (1990) — Contributor — 24 copies
Conjunctions: 52, Betwixt the Between (2009) — Contributor — 19 copies
Tor.com Short Fiction: Summer 2023 (2010) — Contributor — 19 copies
Tor.com Short Fiction: Mar/Apr 2019 (2019) — Contributor — 12 copies
Some of the Best from Tor.com: 15th Anniversary Edition (2023) — Contributor — 10 copies
Interzone 033 (1990) — Contributor — 5 copies, 1 review

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Reviews

A powerfully written story. I'm not familiar with Jonathan Carroll, but there was some buzz this last week or so online from writers I really like who are excited a lot of his work is coming back into print. Good enough for me to seek out what I could. This was the only book (really only a short story) available on my library's ebook lending app. It was a powerful, fascinating story. I look forward to finding more stories by Jonathan Carroll in the future.
 
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benjclark | Jul 1, 2024 |
This rated only 2.5 stars really, rounded up to 3 in view of the unlikeable protagonist whose eventual realisation of how horridly he has treated his two girlfriends is rather too little and too late. This is the story of Harry Radcliffe who was mentioned in 'Sleeping in Flame', an arrogant and conceited architect who has a mental breakdown then recovers and is engaged to build a museum to honour dogs by the progressive sultan of a fictional Middle Eastern country.

The story is a mishmash of various characters from other Carroll novels, odd stories the character overhears such as the story of the retreating German soldiers in WWII which has absolutely no bearing on the book's narrative, and weird magic things which don't really amount to anything. The inclusion of the subplot about the sultan's murderous brother and resulting civil war which prevents the museum being built in the Middle East adds some action, but some is pointless such as the protagonist having to go to the place where the museum would have been built only to be told he has to build it in Austria. There's a lot of stuff that is just plain daft even for a Carroll story such as the incredible shrinking car, and dog lovers may find one scene upsetting. Then certain characters turn out to be aspects of the protagonist and he is rebuilding the Tower of Babel. The book is well written as a work of literature but without being able to identify with or have sympathy for the characters, it comes across as quite a cold academic exercise.

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kitsune_reader | 16 other reviews | Nov 23, 2023 |
Rather a mixed bag, and featuring a lot of the usual Carroll tropes such as dogs, gods, and story endings that plummet off a cliff or just run out of steam.

Some were stronger than others and had less of a 'oh, is that it?' effect. Some are very short but quite disturbing, such as the title story about the man on a train who meets a woman and her daughter. I'd read it previously, probably in a collection of dark fantasy/horror stories by assorted authors, and also had a deja vu feeling about 'Friend's Best Man', where a man saves his dog.

Two stories are reprints of stories told in the 'A Child Across the Sky' novel, or else Carroll wrote them first and subsequently decided to include them in that novel: 'Mr Fiddlehead' and 'A Quarter Past You'. Some of the stories go nowhere - the longer 'Uh-Oh City' builds up to something then fizzles out - and this is not dissimilar to the endings of some of Carroll's novels.
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kitsune_reader | 1 other review | Nov 23, 2023 |
The fourth of Carroll's novels and the fourth I've read, but not the best. As with all of them it suffers from a rushed off-the-wall ending, probably more than most, but that's not my main problem with it. I found the story very uneven with lots of 'kitchen sink' things thrown in that didn't really gell with the story.

The protagonist, as in most of those I've read, is a man telling the story in first person. Walker is a small time film actor who has moved into screen writing with the help of his director friend, Nicholas. Nicholas introduces him to Maris, with whom Walker instantly falls in love, and she falls for him.

Certain things are set up in the book, for example, an expectation that Maris' abusive and violent boyfriend will cause big problems, but in fact he is dealt with and disappears early on. Similarly, certain key characters are set up to appear important but fizzle out by being killed off before their plotlines deliver. There are talking animals as in other Carroll novels, but they don't contribute much to the story.

The main story concerns Walker's real father, as he is adopted, and deals with the nature of reincarnation, but there are elements that don't make sense, for example if his father is only giving him one more chance to be the perfect son, why does he give him away as a baby instead of bringing him up, and why doesn't he stop him growing up to prevent him developing the interest in women that is the father's big objection?As in The Land of Laughs, characters can be brought to life by people who write - or in this case, tell oral stories - but with no real explanation of why this works for those particular people.

One feature of this novel not encountered before is that a minor character from the previous novel appears, and the protagonist of the same novel (Bones of the Moon) is referenced a couple of times, but there is no other obvious connection between the two, so it seems a bit pointless.

I was struck particularly in this novel, perhaps because the action in the real world moves between countries so much, that there is no real evocation/atmosphere of any of the places involved - somehow, none of the reality of life in Vienna or New York or California is brought to life. Thinking about it, this was a problem in the previous novel, Bones of the Moon, which featured Greece, Italy and New York as settings. They seem fairly nondescript backdrops despite the frequent mentions of street names and all the occasions when people sit in restaurants and coffee shops. I found it quite a struggle to finish this book, and I'm afraid to say was getting bored before things started happening in the last third or so. I have four other novels by Carroll and I'm not sure on this showing whether I won't just pass them on to the charity shop. I wouldn't normally give a book only 2 stars but there were just too many issues with this one for me.
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kitsune_reader | 19 other reviews | Nov 23, 2023 |

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Works
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