Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “White Apples (Vincent Ettrich, #1)” as Want to Read:
White Apples (Vincent Ettrich, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

White Apples (Vincent Ettrich #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  1,955 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Vincent Ettrich, a genial philanderer, discovers he has died and come back to life, but he has no idea why, or what the experience was like. Gradually, he discovers he was brought back by his true love, Isabelle, because she is pregnant with their child—a child who, if raised correctly, will play a crucial role in saving the universe.

But to be brought up right, the child
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 19th 2004 by Tor (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about White Apples, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about White Apples

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García MárquezThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Favorite Magical Realism Novels
406th out of 891 books — 4,150 voters
The Name of the Wind by Patrick RothfussHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingMistborn by Brandon SandersonHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Best Fantasy of the 2000s
297th out of 361 books — 389 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jerri Brissette
Feb 21, 2010 Jerri Brissette rated it it was amazing
This review might not even be appropriate for goodreads as there are perhaps (my opinion) brighter, less "conservative" readers here, but I'm basically a lazy person, and as I wrote this review for Amazon in response to all the bad reviews of Jonathan Carroll there, I'm just transferring it to here.
I think most people either love Jonathan Carroll or hate him, not much in between. I loved White Apples. Unless you're used to Jonathan Carroll's style, you might, indeed, find this book terrible as s
May 13, 2016 Trin rated it did not like it
Another book that Neil Gaiman--my favorite author--loved, and that I hated. I really thought this one was going to work for me, too, as it has two of my favorite Dumb Plot Devices: Amnesia! Coming Back From the Dead! Carroll treats both of these premises in unusual ways, but nevertheless I found the narrative scattershot and incredibly unengaging. I think this may have been because Carroll changes the rules constantly, simply throwing in new fantasy elements when he needs them; I felt discombobu ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
(possible spoilers)

I'm a Jonathan Carroll fan. I am. But the more I read him the more his writing style annoys me. I'm not sure if annoy is the right word, since I still read and enjoy his books. But he likes to tell the reader things. Show don't tell, yes, the old writing adage that everyone (or every writer, anyway) knows and while I think you can certainly be a good writer when you tell your story rather than show (Garcia Marquez, Borges, most Latin American writers when you think about it) C
Dec 19, 2008 Julia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of fantasy, creative art
Shelves: magical-realism
WHITE APPLES is one of my favorite Carroll novels; the sequel is GLASS SOUP, and both contain my favorite characters, Vincent and Isabelle. From his website:

"Vincent Ettrich is in a tight spot. He has died and been brought back to life to help save his unborn son from evil and chaotic forces who want to prevent this son from becoming the savior of the universe. Sound bizarre? Welcome to the surreal and metaphysically massive novel WHITE APPLES by Jonathan Carroll.

In Carroll's world, humans are k
May 16, 2013 Susan rated it did not like it
Shelves: bocd, fantasy, adult
I was just talking to a friend about how I don't often post negative reviews but this one? I just have to vent. This was first posted here:
So in one of the first scenes, before the main character, Vincent, knows anything weird is going on, he runs into a friend, Bruno, at a restaurant. While he’s talking to his friend, he gets a phone call from his ex-wife. He excuses himself to take it and his ex-wife tells him that Bruno’s wife just called her to share t
Vincent Ettrich has just discovered that he's been resurrected. The worst part? He has no idea how he died. And now his mistress is telling him that she's carrying his child. Thus, White Apples begins. Throw in the fate of Order versus Chaos and you have this Jonathan Carroll novel.

This follows up on The Wooden Sea, though not in a directly obvious way. The themes that it carries are similar - chaos versus order, the way that the past changes who we are without us being able to change the past.
Apr 21, 2016 Scott rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
What if you know you have died, but death is extremely similar as the world we live in now? Things are just slightly off, funny looking people, talking animals, etc. That is chapter 1 of White Apples. What if your love tries to save you from death like Orpheus tried with Eurydice? That is the rest of the novel. Magical-realism at it's finest. Filled with some of the most interesting philosophies i've ever heard on life and death. An Unbelievable read by my favorite author.
L'amore è caos ma non soltanto. È vero che si perde il controllo, ma soltanto il proprio. Perché quando c'è l'amore vero, non sei più solo. Si è in due e insieme si crea qualcosa di nuovo, e alla fine è quello che ti salva.
Jun 24, 2014 Bunny rated it it was ok
Recommended to Bunny by: Mina
Shelves: read-in-14

Seriously, a warning probably wouldn't have stopped me from reading it, but once the victim appeared on screen, I would've known to unfocus my eyes in time to avoid that.

As someone whose favorite books/authors are my favorite books, I think very hard before recommending those books. Because if someone ends up hating the book, and it is one of my favorite books, what does that say about me, the friend, or our compatibility?

I may overthink
Maya Panika
Sep 01, 2011 Maya Panika rated it it was ok
The story was intriguing, the prose poetic and imaginative but the omniscient point-of-view was upsetting, the constant POV switching, sometimes from one paragraph to the next, felt like being on a rollercoaster and made me mildly nauseous.

The ideas were interesting, they didn't always work for me, but they were never boring. Sometimes the writing made me catch my breath it was so magical, but too often Carroll over-thinks; too much description, too much labouring of the point rubs away the spar
David Manns
Nov 21, 2011 David Manns rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was my first Jonathan Carroll novel, but I can confidently say that it won't be my last.

Vincent Ettrich is a serial womaniser, advertising executive and also recently dead. Except now he's not. He's been brought back by the love of his life for the sake of their unborn son. A son he knew nothing about. But he can't remember being dead, or why or how he's been brought back. And there are forces at work who want to keep him from ever raising that child.

The scope of imagination on display here
Mar 22, 2015 Meghan rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. Neil Gaiman gave it a rave review, as did many others. But I gave up in disgust about 2/3 of the way through. The protagonist is, we're told, a wildly successful advertising executive who is also a world-class painter in his spare time. All women fall instantly in love with him on sight. He has never let a woman feel used, we're told, but his idea of chivalry seems to be to offer to pay for the cab after one of his numerous one-night stands. We're also told ...more
Cliff Thompson
Apr 25, 2016 Cliff Thompson rated it really liked it
Jonathan Carroll has done another turn at Magic Realism here, and turned it pretty well. Here is a story of someone sent back from death to the living, to accomplish a mission they do not understand on behalf of someone who has not even been born yet.
It's the sort of thing Neil Gaiman would write (indeed the book is dedicated to Neil Gaiman) and Carroll does almost as good a job as Gaiman would, but not quite.
The fact that the protagonist does not have a full understanding of what he is supposed
Mar 18, 2016 Melanti marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I was talking about this book with a friend, and he decided to google it to figure out what else the author had written. While looking over his shoulder, I noticed that one of the search results was from Urban Dictionary that said that "White Apples" is a slang term for the drug Ecstasy, aka MDMA, aka Molly.

That fits in well with this book since the whole thing has a very "inspired by a drug trip" feel to it. I've been referring to it as "my Molly book" in conversation ever since.

I really don't
Mar 08, 2010 Joanna rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-read
I enjoyed this book, and I'm interested to read more by this author, but the book ultimately left me a little disappointed. The book traces the tale of Vincent Ettrich, who has been ressurected to teach his unborn son unspecified but Very Important Lessons to help the son save the world. The writing was quirky and the characters fun -- it reminded me a bit of Jasper Fforde, Christopher Moore, or Neil Gaimon. But the outlines of the book's universe and the rules of the game never became totally ...more
Mar 25, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
To remember:

"The past is fixed, it's permanent...It's dead, but it keeps coming back and stops us from moving forward. It gets in the way of our present...and our future...Don't let your past scare you out of doing anything now."
some moments here and there but mostly not good.
Nicholas Gourlay
Apr 18, 2009 Nicholas Gourlay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
Powerful, fantastic, and romantic.
Dec 26, 2015 Mia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hämmentävä kirja. En oikein tiedä, pidinkö paljon vai vain vähän. Siksi toistaiseksi kolme tähteä.
Glen Engel-Cox
White Apples is the beginning of a new trilogy from Carroll, and with new beginnings he's decided to modify his modus operandi from previous novels. To start with, gone is the first-person, unreliable male narrator; in its place is a third-person omniscient voice that is both strangly familiar and disconcerting. I hesitate to call it Carroll's true voice, because he's shown in previous novels that he can take on differing personas convincingly, and the voice is still filtered here through the im ...more
3 Stars

I discovered this author while doing my usual Goodreads stalking. And he fit my current criteria for a favorable reading experience: magic realism, adult (adult meaning not YA, not adult meaning porn), his books can be found at my local library, and the themes of the book deal with something bigger in scope than "how can I get that cute vampire to like me back."

For me, reading is a very intimate experience. There aren't too many other types of artists/ entertainers who can get into your h
Aug 21, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Unsatisfied customers in the Mall of All Gods
Recommended to Alan by: Subsequent work, and Amanda for the timing
What would it be like to wake up dead, anyway? My kids asked that question just the other day, but unlike Jonathan Carroll, I had no ready answer for them. That's what has happened to reformed womanizer Vincent Ettrich, though, in the first few pages of White Apples... he's dead—no heartbeat, no pulse—but otherwise his life seems to have gone on pretty much as usual.

This isn't as much of a paradox as it may seem, though it is a fundamental mystery, both to Vincent and to Isabelle Neukor, the lov
Oct 04, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Couldn't put this book down. I'm sad I finished it on the shuttle and have to wait until tonight to get my hands on the second book.
Jun 28, 2016 Ubiqua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La storia ruota attorno a una dimensione ultraterrena che, da quel che ho capito, è una costante nei libri di Carroll. Mi lascia perplessa la caratterizzazione che lo scrittore dà alla sua metafisica, perché è tutto un po’ cristiano: si parla di Purgatorio, ci sono degli angeli custodi, un antagonista che sembra un diavolo scappato da qualche inferno... Ci sono la vita, la morte, e c’è Dio, col suo disegno. Carroll trova le sue metafore, ma l’effetto che hanno fatto a me è simile a quello ...more
Rosie M.
Feb 16, 2016 Rosie M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LINK RECENSIONE:http://dragonflyliteraryblog.blogspot...

Si nasce con un destino incollato addosso, siamo predestinati a qualcosa, che sia grande o piccola poco importa, in quanto le nostre vite possiedono un perché (o ancor meglio il perché). Vincent Ettrich lo sa, sa che la sua esistenza ha uno scopo, così come quella del figlio che ancora deve nascere, per questo torna dall'aldilà dopo esser morto a causa del cancro. Il piccolo che deve nascere salverà il mondo, sconfiggerà il Caos, porterà su
Jan 29, 2011 T4ncr3d1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"L'amore è caos, è vero. Ma non soltanto. Sì, è vero che si perde il controllo, ma soltanto il proprio. Ultima persona singolare. (..) Perché quando c'è vero amore, non sei più solo. Non è una lezione tanto facile da imparare: non si è più soli. Si è in due, e insieme si crea qualcosa di nuovo, una terza cosa... Il mio iiif, e alla fine è quello che ti salva."

Capolavoro, capolavoro, capolavoro! Sia lode a Jonathan Carroll. Io amo questo scrittore, amo la sua fervida immaginazione, amo la sua man

This was a strange novel. Romance, life after death, the nature of God, the nature of chaos - it tried to cover them all and it almost came off as a philosophical treatise rather than a novel. None of the characters were particularly sympathetic. Victor, a divorced womanizer who discovers that he has been resurrected after a heart attack, spends most of the novel being tossed back and forth like a ping pong ball by everyone (and everything) else in the story. The love of his life, Isabel, in ...more
Marion Hill
Dec 13, 2015 Marion Hill rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I have spent the last several weeks reading three novels from Jonathan Carroll. This review of White Apples is the first of the Carroll novels I’ve read. I had never heard of Jonathan Carroll before reading this post from Neil Gaiman about him. Besides Gaiman, he has been endorsed by novelists as diverse as Stephen King to Pat Conroy to Katherine Dunn. Because of his reputation as a favorite of writers, I’ve decided to to check him out. I’m probably late to this party, but I’m glad to have ...more
Georgiana 1792
Dec 10, 2011 Georgiana 1792 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La vita esige sempre qualcosa da noi. Se non ce l'hai, o non gliela vuoi accordare, allora quella ti mette il broncio e smette di aver cura di te. È lunatica, parziale e per niente corretta. Se si riuscisse a chiederle a bruciapelo qual è il significato dell'esistenza umana, non sarebbe capace di rispondere: perché il significato della vita muta di giorno in giorno e da persona a persona.


«Perché la loro è una vera storia d'amore, tesoro, e il vero amore è sem
Jul 28, 2011 Jane rated it it was ok
This is the first time I have read a book by Jonathan Carroll and it travelled down various turns I did not expect and posed some concepts that were both fitting to the novel and fascinating as theory.

The story is about a man named Vincent Ettrich who dies and is somehow returned to life so to bring up his unborn son. A son who will be of great importance to the very fabric of the universe!

I thought this book was well written for the most part and offered the answers to many questions that arose
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mockingbird
  • Finder: Dream Sequence
  • Requiem
  • The Empire of Ice Cream
  • La vera storia del pirata Long John Silver
  • All the Bells on Earth (Christian Trilogy, #3)
  • Dogland
  • Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers (The Company, #4.5)
  • The New Moon's Arms
  • L'elenco telefonico di Atlantide
  • Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
  • The Ant King: And Other Stories
  • My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time
  • Zod Wallop
  • A neve ferma
  • The Big Blow
  • Our Ecstatic Days
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 ...more
More about Jonathan Carroll...

Other Books in the Series

Vincent Ettrich (2 books)
  • Glass Soup  (Vincent Ettrich, #2)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Real love is always chaotic. You lose control; you lose perspective. You lose the ability to protect yourself. The greater the love, the greater the chaos. It’s a given and that’s the secret.” 121 likes
“Patience never wants Wonder to enter the house: because Wonder is a wretched guest. It uses all of you but is not careful with what is most fragile or irreplaceable. If it breaks you, it shrugs and moves on. Without asking, Wonder often brings along dubious friends: doubt, jealousy, greed. Together they take over; rearrange the furniture in every one of your rooms for their own comfort. They speak odd languages but make no attempt to translate for you. They cook strange meals in your heart that leave odd tastes and smells. When they finally go are you happy or miserable? Patience is always left holding the broom.” 87 likes
More quotes…