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The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  345 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Described by Michael Dirda in The Washington Post as “sexy, eery and addictive”, the fiction of Jonathan Carroll occurs at the point where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, the commonplace becomes unsettling, and yet where we nonetheless always recognize the stories being told because they are always about ourselves and what happens in our deepest, sometimes darkest hear ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published June 2012 by Subterranean Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Sep 16, 2012 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: hey-shorty
i fiiiiiiinished! and it only took a couple years!

i am going to review this slowly, as i read it, the way greg is with his giant anthology. hold your applause until the end. or don't. this "review" might just be for me, as i savor a bunch of stories i have already read and celebrate jonathan carroll quietly with myself.

Mr. Fiddlehead

this is probably my favorite jonathan carroll story. it has all the elements that make him him: quirkily-named bull terriers (in this case, "elbow"), fountain pens,
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jan 17, 2017 Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-shorts, fantasy
Jonathan Carroll writes very quirky and surreal but thought-provoking stories. I've only read a few of these stories (the ones that also happen to be free online), but I'd love to read them all. Reviews for the ones I've read so far, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

"The Stolen Church," free online at Conjunctions: Tina and Stanley, married for five years, are in the lobby of a nondescript apartment building, waiting for an elevator to take them up to visit his parents. The only problem is, S
Feb 14, 2013 Alan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The living and the dead, and those just visiting either state
Recommended to Alan by: Longer work
Ahhh... this is more like it. For those already familiar with Jonathan Carroll's novels—unforgettable works like The Land of Laughs, Bones of the Moon, Outside the Dog Museum, White Apples or Glass Soup, to name just a few (and aren't those titles even by themselves evocative indications of what might be inside?)—these short stories are concentrated doses of that same powerfully intimate vision.

And for those who are not yet acquainted... well, you should be, but if you aren't, The Woman Who Marr

2.5 stars

A large and dense collection of Jonathan Carroll's short stories.

If you've ever complained about rising book prices, this book (like (Jack McDevitt's Cryptic) is a value for money response. At over 400 pages of short stories, this is a lot of Jonathan Carroll. If you're a fan of Carroll's unembellished prose and slightly off kilter happenings, there's a lot here for you. If you're only an occasional visitor to Carroll's realities, this may not be the place to st
Oct 18, 2012 Isabelle rated it really liked it
This is a very hefty collection of Jonathan Carroll's short stories that assembles decades of his work. While it is a wonderful collection, I would suggest not reading it all at once as his voice, unusual as it is, can feel repetitive if one reads too many stories in one sitting.
That being said, Jonathan Carroll is a fantastic story teller and a master at his craft which consists of taking you from the real world as we know it to another dimension in reality, outlandish and totally plausible as
Nov 01, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it
Oh Jonathan Carroll. I just love his work so much. These stories were amazing. Each one. Every one. So good. So SAD. Seriously, I'd say 80% of these stories will rip your heart out. It's ok. It'll grow back.
Jan 26, 2014 Aaron rated it it was amazing
Wonderful collection of stories that are driven both by character and by a sense of the fantastic. Some are just quirky and serendipitous, others are outright supernatural -- but all are fascinating little gems.
Magia jest wśród nas. Nie każdy może ją dostrzec, wystarczy jednak osoba o odpowiedniej percepcji, by zauważyć, a następnie zaakceptować to, co dla innych pozostaje w sferze mitów i baśni. Z połączenia tego, co codzienne, z tym, co wykracza poza ramy szkiełka i oka, rodzi się realizm magiczny. Jonathan Carroll od wielu lat konsekwentnie wykorzystuje tę konwencję, jego bohaterowie przyjmują to, co nadprzyrodzone, z nadnaturalnym spokojem, a obydwie rzeczywistości płynnie przenikają się, do tego s ...more
I read my first Jonathan Carroll novel shortly after discovering Graham Joyce. I’d read everything Joyce had written up to that point and was desperate for more. The top recommendation I kept hearing at that time was Jonathan Carroll, probably because there’s a certain similarity between the two writers: they both write fiction set in our contemporary reality with relatively small added fantasy elements. You can call this magical realism, but Joyce disagrees with this classification—he prefers t ...more
Feb 04, 2015 Keith rated it really liked it
I stumbled upon Jonathan Carroll thanks to Patton Oswalt's new one, "Silver Screen Fiend," and dived in with "Land of Laughs," his first novel. I liked it quite a bit, so I decided to try his short fiction, which I found to be more of a mixed bag-- but when he's good, he's very very good. There are a number of stories in this collection that I'm sure I'll return to again.

He does sort of this strange magical-realist / intrusion of fantasy / dreamlike logic thing, similar to Barry Yourgrau, but go
Aug 06, 2012 Abeille rated it it was amazing
This HUGE book took me forever to read, partly because I originally had a physical copy and its sheer bulk made it impossible to tote around with me. Another reason this was a slow read for me is that I'm not a huge fan of short stories - it often seems as though just as I get immersed in a story's world and characters the piece ends and I feel irritated. Other times, I just don't get the point of a story (I call these stories-that-make-me-say-"huh" ). However, I'm happy to say that most of Jona ...more
May 31, 2013 Sue rated it it was amazing
Despite having read some of these stories at their original publication over the past few years, I loved this collection. Mr. Carroll's stories always delight and amaze me, taking me into that lovely borderland between the actual and the possible, raising goosebumps, opening my "third eye" onto previously unseen and unimagined vistas of the imagination. The only thing better than a collection of short stories by Jonathan Carroll is a new novel by Jonathan Carroll. Now that I've forged through Th ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
I have been reading Jonathan Carroll since 1992, when my friend Andrew brought me a copy of "Sleeping in Flame" that he'd found at Half-Price Books.

I have every book, every collection, every limited edition he's ever written. His books are the only thing I collect.

So, obviously, I had to buy this one, too, when it came out. And while I'm glad I have it to complete the collection, it is not my favorite thing he's written.

I'm not a short story fan in general, and was disappointed that I'd read mos
Aug 15, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
I have always been very fond of this author. Man can turn a phrase & plays with a lot of fun ideas. While saying that, I should mention I always felt dissatisfied by the endings of his novels. It always felt like he wanted more of his own characters but needed to "wrap up" each book. Many if his characters show up elsewhere and I've often had the sensation of glad familiarity like a friend you see every 2-4 years but fall back in rhythm with right away. This book of collected short works is ...more
May 08, 2016 Henic rated it it was amazing
Очень приличный уровень, без явных провалов, только один рассказ показался сильно затянутым.
Живешь себе, потом является некто и убедительно доказывает, что он Бог, а тебе предстоит существенно изменить приоритеты.
Делаешь татуировку с загадочным текстом, куда это приведет?
Где подвох, если выбираешь в аду комнату, в которой смотрят кино?

Тема магии, чудес и всякого запредельного вторична.
Не в триггере дело, а в том, как герои на них реагируют.
На редкость качественное чтиво.
Dec 06, 2016 Claire rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful but wildly uneven collection. Some of the stories--especially "Elizabeth Thug"-- are just so good--about as good as a short story can be. And then some of them (like the one about the relocation of Hell) needed major editing or maybe should have just not been included. If this collection had been just slightly more carefully culled, it would have been pretty close to a perfect read. As it is, it's a very good one.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Sep 10, 2012 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it
What can I say, it's Jonathan Carroll so of course it was great. I have to say of all the stories the first one stayed with me. I found it to be creepy (mostly the ending) even though it wasn't some terrifying nightmare, not at all... it's just the slight edge of evil that slinks in and all for love's sake- Again, short story and still I thought 'creepy'.
Sep 23, 2013 Freesiab rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 500-plus-pages
Finally! I wish I had taken better notes but overall this was a breath taking collection of short stories. Carrol isn't for everyone. He's classified as magical realism or surrealist fiction. AND my favorite author. If I had to choose, my favorite stories were
Mr. Fiddlehead
The Fall Collection
Jane Fonda Room
The Panic Hand
The stolen Church
The Language of Heaven
Elizabeth Thug
East of Furious
Alison C Widdoes
Fantastical whimsy

These short stories take your mind on unexpected and obtuse journeys that give you the sense you're either high, or touching new disparate parts of your brain. The cosmic influence of a world described beyond our reality is palpable. I very much enjoyed the sometimes silly, complex and thought provoking tales this book offered my mind and soul.
Ming Siu
Jul 20, 2016 Ming Siu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of short stories, including more than a few that are simply perfect. They lead you one way, then you think you know what the twist may be... and then you get the rug pulled out spectacularly from under you, leaving you gasping in surprise.
Aug 07, 2012 Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
I think that Jonathan Carroll is one of my favorite authors. He's certainly one of a very small number whose writing I recognize immediately, the same way I recognize melodies by Monk, or a solo by Miles. I'm very deliberately stretching the reading of this book out as long as i can.
A great selection of stories by Jonathan Carroll. There is everything in here from fantasy to horror. Love, death, heaven, hell, gods, devils, perception of self & others are all covered in these stories. To say more would spoil it, so I will just leave it at that.
Anna Deck
Aug 20, 2015 Anna Deck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read, thought provoking

Like going to an amusement park filled with many different rides. Escape and make believe, lots of fun. Fantasy but mixed with real life that you can relate to.
Aug 15, 2014 Tyson rated it really liked it
I've become a Jonathan Carroll fan belatedly through my students in Poland. Carroll is extremely popular there.

These short stores have a wonderful surreal bent to them. I look forward to the next Carroll novel.
PopSugar Reading Challenge 2016 | Task 12: A book recommended by someone you just met
Great book for anyone into the Twilight Zone or The outer limits.
There are some good thought provoking stories here. A few were beyond me or just boring.
This book is a little long though, 600 pages! It was like sitting down to eat a whole box of corn flakes instead of one bowl. Read in small doses it's a great read.
Jen Pender
Jan 08, 2013 Jen Pender rated it really liked it
Having loved Jonathan carrol for many years and collected all books written so far, I was excited to read new stories and tales from one of my favourite writers. I was a little disappointed to find there was little new material for me. But thoroughly enjoyed rereading and rediscovering stories such as mr fiddlehead and tiired angel, Carroll at his best.
Nov 16, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it
Didn't like the end of the first story. Didn't like the end of the second story. Got through the third and fourth stories and quit. This book is definitely not for me.
Liz Barclay
Feb 13, 2014 Liz Barclay rated it liked it
Some of the stories were excellent...a couple were too similar to earlier work.
Sep 11, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book because I love Jonathan Carroll. There were a couple of good stories but for the most part I found it to be very underwhelming.
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Jonathan Carroll (b. 1949) is an award-winning American author of modern fantasy and slipstream novels. His debut book, The Land of Laughs (1980), tells the story of a children’s author whose imagination has left the printed page and begun to influence reality. The book introduced several hallmarks of Carroll’s writing, including talking animals and worlds that straddle the thin line between reali ...more
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“Everything will haunt you, all the storms will find you, everything will remind you she’s gone.” 4 likes
“The world can be divided between people who can get a waiter’s attention and those who can’t.” 3 likes
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