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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 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 th 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,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 isthan 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 It s rare these days that a book has me from hello to paraphrase a cheesy line from a urp Tom Cruise movie , but this one did Check out the first two paragraphsNever buy yellow clothes or cheap leather That s my credo and there areKnow what I like to see People killing themselves Don t misunderstand I m not talking about the poor fucks who jump out windows or stick their sorry heads into plastic bags forever No Ultimate Fighting Championship either, which is only a bunch It s rare these days that a book has me from hello to paraphrase a cheesy line from a urp Tom Cruise movie , but this one did Check out the first two paragraphsNever buy yellow clothes or cheap leather That s my credo and there areKnow what I like to see People killing themselves Don t misunderstand I m not talking about the poor fucks who jump out windows or stick their sorry heads into plastic bags forever No Ultimate Fighting Championship either, which is only a bunch of rabid crewcuts biting each other I m talking about the guy on the street, face the color of wet lead, lighting up a Camel and coghing up his soul the minute he inhales Good for you, Sport Long live nicotine, stubbornness and self indulgence Let s have another round here, Jimmy croons King Cholesterol down at the end of the bar He with the rosy nose and enough high blood pressure to lauch him and his whole family tree to Pluto Gratification, mass, texture The heart attack that ll nuke him will last a few seconds The cold beer in thick mugs and perfume of grilling T bone steaks are forever until he dies It s worth the trade off I m with himI think I m in love This, of course, is from The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll, an author who has been around for a while but somehow escaped my notice, something I m very happy to correct The book quickly gets very weird, something I very much approve of a reviewer described a point in his books when the floor turns to Vaseline and you re looking for a handhold My kind of book And the only thing I lovethan discovering a new author is finding out that they wrote 12 other books besides the one I m reading and loving Score another one for that Waterstone s list I m beginning to think they may really know what they re doing there It s nice to re read one of your favorite books after few years and find it just as great as first time around. i am simultaneously amused and bemused by jonathan carroll s books they make so much sense and nonsense at the same time.they also remind me of one of my favourite poems, by stephen crane Many red devils ran from my heartAnd out upon the page,They were so tinyThe pen could mash them.And many struggled in the ink.It was strangeTo write in this red muckOf things from my heart.