Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wooden Sea (by Jonathan Carroll)

Our book club selection for the month! A surreal and whimsical book, where a seemingly normal main character (of the hard-boiled small-town cop type) turns out to be living in a world where anything can happen (time travel, the dead talking, that sort of thing). I had two issues with it, which I will share with my book group later this evening: 1. I couldn't get a handle on the characters at the beginning, and I'm not sure if they are introduced poorly or if it is my fault. For instance, Pauline at the beginning seems kind of deranged, but then later on we're supposed to see that she and her stepdad have a good relationship. Her character seems inconsistent, and that happened a lot based on the first chapter.

Then there's a lot of good, compelling stuff, with interesting characters and surreal ideas and can't-wait-to-find-out-what-happens-next plotting. And then... at the end... issue 2.... it falls apart. I can't even begin to tell you all the loose ends that are left dangling, but there are A LOT OF THEM. I'm all for a little bit of ambiguity, but it seems like most of the book goes nowhere. I looked on Amazon and saw a lot of people, even Carroll fans, have the same complaint. I liked this enough to check out some of his other stuff, but if I were coming to him for the first time, I wouldn't start here. Actually, I might just go re-read some Jasper Fforde.

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