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3.8 out of 5 stars11
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Upon picking up this novel I was quite intrigued by the premise on which it was based, having never come across such a novel before I was a little bit worried about the way in which the tale would play itself out as it isn't normally the sort of book on my reading pile. But that said what does the novel offer to the reader?
This novel gives the reader a number of things to play with firstly we discover the world though the eyes of its principle character and so we're not completely thrown in at the deep end into a world in which we have no understanding. The author breaks the reader in quite gently showing us a world into which we are all familiar before dropping the first bombshell of many upon the reader.
What really makes this novel is the unpredicatability of the author, not knowing exactly what he can do, ie not having read any of his previous novels, I was left thrilled with the twists and turns that are a trademark of this authors style of writing. This novel left the reader in as confused a state of mind as the novels protagonist and as such when the light switched on for the character it switched on to the reader as we made the discoveries that he did, this for me was a rather nice touch and added so many things that will keep the reader stuck to the novels pages until its end. Although quite a short novel its part of the authors charm that keeps the reader turning the pages and explaining another world that we have no idea exists, the concept of this novel itself will surely endear itself to the fantasy reader as well as more than likely transfer quite well to either a short story or a film should anyone be looking for an original plot or concept. That said, pick it up and give it a go.
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on 10 March 2006
Jonathan Carroll has long been a favourite "eyebrow raiser" of mine, most of his books have moved me, one or two have not but then again is that not the nature of individualism? We cannot please everybody all the time , we cannot connect with everybody all of the time.
In his latest novel the main character is a person that you do not warm immediately to, if at all, as with other Carroll novels but that is the nature of the story it seems.The main character is a womaniser and you have to force yourself to like him to feel for his predicament and yet all that surrounds him is pure Carroll magic.
It is the nature and duty of an intellectually stimulating writer,like Carroll, to investigate all corners of the human condition and to report those findings from the point of view of as many different characters as possible, from 'nice' people to 'not nice people' to allow as many of us readers to be stimulated both intellectually and artistically.Carroll does this and does this bravely by moving direction with a new type of character and a slightly different story angle.
This book left me in stunned and breathless, not since Suskind's 'Perfume' have I felt so in awe of a writers imagination and 'personal eye'.
I can never play Scrabble in the same mind ever again!
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on 10 March 2008
I got very little sleep while reading this because I just could not put the book down. It was the literary equivalent of putting superglue on the cover.

This is the first book where Carroll uses the omniscient third person narrative. all his previous novels are written in the first person. The change definitely works. Hitchcock once said that if you have four characters playing cards round a table and a bomb goes off in a briefcase hidden under the table, that's a surprise. If you tell the audience about the bomb and let the characters continue to play cards, that's suspense.

The use of the third person narrative allows Carroll to show us the bombs under the tables, but he also never fails to throw in several surprises along the way.

Like everything else he's written, this is highly reccommended
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on 20 August 2005
Jonathan Carroll brings his uniquely compassionate perspective and off-kilter storytelling skills to this ancient, resonant theme, and the result is utterly enthralling. Not only does Carroll fashion two main characters-the star-crossed lovers Vincent and Isabelle-who are more real and empathy-inducing than 99 percent of fictional constructs, but he goes on to invent a radically novel version of what death entails, bypassing any kind of Judeo-Christian mythology in favor of a blend of New Age physics, Far Eastern concepts and Gurdjieffian mysticism. And none of this is didactically presented, but rather embodied in a surreal, fast-paced adventure story... Anyone who appreciates the flux and play of the mystery that is real life will find this book unputdownable.
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on 26 May 2004
Much as it pains me to write this, as a longtime Carroll fan, but this book is a oddly poor example from a normally great writer. Carroll seems to have had too many ideas here, without a will to resolve or even fully flesh them out. Although he rarely attempts to justify the curious events in his stories, the devices and twists come thick and fast here, but, for me at least, fail to advance the story in any useful manner.
White Apples is riddled with inconsistancies, plot and character threads that go nowhere and ultimately seems to rush to a clumsy 'time to finish the book' conclusion. His characters really fail to elicit any emotional response for me - and that, in a Carroll book, is very strange, but his writing style has become increasingly cruel and detached with each book.
If you've never read Jonathan Carroll, please do - he's normally wonderful, but don't start here.
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on 14 December 2004
I've read every one of Carroll's novels and I thought this one his best to date. I read it on holiday, which only added to the escapism that his novels plunge the reader into. Carroll's ideas and plot twists are a delight and I shall be buying a few extra copies this year to give to friends for Christmas presents. It's also very well written (as usual).
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on 26 December 2002
This is vintage Carroll: ingeniously plotted, richly metaphorical and metaphysical with a seditious and very witty take on reality. Magic is everywhere in his universe, a universe I'm very comfortable revisiting. The truth about Carroll is that he's a magic realist who plunders our unconscious for profound emotional truths. He's been compared to Calvino, Dostoyevsky and even Jim Carrey. A dear friend joked to me that if Carroll Latinized his name and titled his novels "The Saucy Pantaloons of Alfredo Garcia" he would instantly find an American audience fond of literary exoticism.
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on 15 February 2015
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on 6 April 2003
"This is a book with a diabolical grin. It's also one of the most disturbing pieces of fiction you'll ever read, guaranteed to soak through into your subconscious and stay there for a very long time. Carroll has the knack of showing us fear in a handful of dust; or a crowded fashionable restaurant, a hospital corridor, a car park, the city zoo. No matter how weird things get, you can't help staying with it till the end. Read it if you dare.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2005
Books like "Bones of the Moon" and "A Child Across The Sky" had seductive prose, exciting momentum and moral unease. But Carroll's last few books have been increasingly indulgent. This one is a tumble of half-baked ideas that are abandoned as soon as they are introduced, having achieved nothing but the filling of pages.
Example: one incomprehensible character is terrified to learn that he must go visit the King of the Park. Then this turns out to be a bunch of barbers. Only, no, in fact what they do is remake HIM as the King, which means a remould on his face and a bunch of never-specified powers. We never see him use any of these powers, and by the end of the book he's back to normal. So why did Carroll feel it worthwhile to shove 20 pages of useless drivel in the middle of the book?
Each novel seems to turn God into a different diagram, and the gimmick has become threadbare. There is no emotional or thematic punch to this book, and what it really needed was an editor capable of saying No! I've given up on him.
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