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A Child Across the Sky (Answered Prayers #3)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  781 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Just as the the word "weird" has many implications and shades of meaning, so too does the latest--weird--work by this gifted and perplexing writer. As Carroll ( Bones of the Moon ; Sleeping in Flame ) himself says, "Life has a habit of turning dark corners." Applied here, this observation seems an understatement: these convoluted corners are both light and dark, are many, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 268 pages
Published July 1990 by Legend (first published 1989)
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeA Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Best Beginning
267th out of 387 books — 613 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyThe Poetry of Pablo Neruda by Pablo NerudaThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
150+ Life-changing books (part 1)
9th out of 100 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,506)
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May 15, 2012 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

go ahead and judge jonathan carroll's books by their covers; lord knows i have:

and so does spectrum:

the above edition has selected three of his covers in their "best of the year", during a particularly fruitful period of reissues:

the covers are what first made me want to read him, and what still makes me collect him in every language i can get. but it's not just surface; with my jonathan carroll, his books deliver on the spooky-fun promise of the covers. he does tend to tackle the same themes ov
Filmmaker Weber Greston discovers his best friend has killed himself. Also a filmmaker, Philip Strayhorn, best known for his Midnight films, leaves Weber a videotape in lieu of an explanation for his suicide. In the process of watching the tap Weber discovers how little he knew his best friend, the events surrounding his death and his movies. And then in classic Carroll fashion Weber is taken down a road of twists and turns and strangeness, featuring the world of Rondua of Carroll's previous Bon ...more
Aug 28, 2009 tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to tim by: karen brissette
Finishing Child Across the Sky felt like awakening from a strange dream in the middle of the day when I hadn't realized I'd even fallen asleep.

2.5 stars

When I read Voice of Our Shadow, I was disappointed to find it not as good as I remembered. Still, I reminded myself, it was only his second book. I looked forward to the other Carroll books I bought in a batch. A Child Across the Sky was one of the many new ones.

It was with a sinking feeling, then, that I soon realized the book wasn't particularly good. It's true that it's part of a series, and I read it out of sequence, but it's marketed as a stand-alone book.
Jun 20, 2011 Donald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This must be the first I've read of Jonathan Carroll—I'd remember this writing style. Where have I been?

He has a great sense of what his characters would do and how they would act. Yet he plunges them into incomprehensible moments and gives those moments plausibility. One film maker, Weber Gregston, learns his friend has committed suicide. This friend, Philip Strayhorn, has left him videotapes which lead him on a journey of discovery and speak to Weber from beyond the grave.

It is a beautifully w
"Un'ora prima che si sparasse, Philip Strayhorn, il mio migliore amico, telefonò per parlarmi dei suoi pollici."

Terzo episodio del surreale "Sestetto delle preghiere esaudite", è il primo romanzo di Carroll che leggo.
Lo vedo in libreria e mi attrae subito. In copertina, un artwork di Dave McKean, un commento di Stephen King ed uno di Neil Gaiman. Non può non piacermi. E infatti...
E' un romanzo straordinario. Non è fantasy e non è horror: è surreale e da ora in poi lo utilizzo come genere per def
Travis Gottschutzke
Feb 22, 2015 Travis Gottschutzke rated it liked it
well, from what I actually got to read, it was pretty spesh...must get my own copy some day
Solid but for the ending, which felt rushed and too neat and briefly wrapped up (I had a "well, of course" moment reading the last few pages). I also wished that the book was in some ways bigger. I wish it had gone further, been more aggressive with its ideas and wackiness, for more given about the minor characters, who were twice as interesting as Weber and Phil. But all that speaks for Carroll's unique aptitude for spinning out delightful, spooky tales that call his readers back again and agai ...more
Bud Mallar
Aug 16, 2014 Bud Mallar rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bud by: Karen Braissette
This was recommended to my by a young lady I 'follow' named Karen. If I had any idea of how to put in a clickable link in this review to her GR page, I would. This is the cut and paste to her 'page:'

This is most of the note I wrote to her after finishing the book. It serves as a pretty good review also - I think...


Thank you for the recommendation on "A Child Acro
Jun 10, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've said this about Jonathan Carroll before but you have to suspend your disbelief that his characters have suspended their disbelief in order to properly enjoy his novels. Ridiculous things happen and everyone assimilates them matter-of-factly whereas in reality they would go insane. This book is no exception. It sets up folk with great relationships, hits them with shit, and stands back to watch what will happen. The more Carroll I read, the more I see the formula, and the more picky I get. H ...more
Jan 16, 2010 Bill rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Bill by: karen
Another brilliant book by Jonathan Carroll. Part fantasy, part thriller, part horror and all great story and great writing. The kind of book Stephen King wishes he could write.Many thanks to Karen for not only introducing me to this great author but for sending me this book to read.
Apr 14, 2012 Spinwallah rated it it was amazing
the man is a serious fruitcake, ive read 2 of his books and they are both spookier than a spooky thing happening on a really spooky night
Justin Wiebe
Dec 22, 2015 Justin Wiebe rated it liked it
I give this a "Liked it" rating with some reservations and, honestly, wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I like weird and to a good challenge, but my main hang-up is that I just found myself wondering, "huh...?" too often and going back over already-read material to keep pace (admittedly, though, there's a good chance this comes down to my oft-concussed brain working its magic). I did, however, appreciate Carroll's style/voice and found a number of poignant, indeed, unsettling moments that ...more
Heather Fineisen
Oct 21, 2014 Heather Fineisen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook
Loved it! Weird, fantastical, thoughtful, spiritual-- Kevin Spacey, where are you????
Apr 06, 2014 Jerantino rated it liked it
Jonathan Carroll's 4th outing and here we see the development of all the annoying habits that will become a hallmark of most, if not all, of his work to follow: Angels, the nature of evil, and a preoccupation with mortality and death; at least there weren't any talking animals or freakily prescient children(if you don't count the angels, that is.)

Weber Gregston, one of the survivors of Rondua, is summoned to complete the final movie of his longtime friend Philip Strayhorn, who has committed suic
Chris Freeman
Jul 14, 2011 Chris Freeman rated it really liked it
Jonathan Carroll is a strange, strange man if A Child Across the Sky is any indication. I've not read anything else by Carroll yet (I will!) so this novel is all by which I have to judge him. The best characterization I could find of Carroll was when a professional reviewer wrote that "if he had a three part Spanish-sounding name and lived in Latin America, he'd be called a magical realist". If you've read Marquez, you'll have an idea of what you're in for with Carroll, with an American perspect ...more
Julie Ambrose
Sep 07, 2013 Julie Ambrose rated it did not like it
Weber is an urban film professional who's just lost his friend Phil to suicide. In the aftermath he tries to follow mysterious directions given on a video that alters each time a task has been completed. Along this rickety journey into the heart of darkness are tattoos that fly, childhood friends that spring to life, a diminutive guardian angel, and other strange elements aimed at perplexing and disturbing the reader.

What this novel has most in common with isn't magical realism, but slasher-horr
Apr 22, 2015 Kelly rated it liked it
Wanted to like this more than I did.

I love magical realism when it's done well - A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher being the most fantastic example of the genre for me. A Child Across the Sky started out with unusual, interesting characters and a fast paced mystery. As I kept reading it really just made me compare it to my impressions of the movie Birdman - compelling at first but once it ended, you weren't exactly sure if it was really good.

I'm going to go with a stellar beginning
Stephanie Sun
"When confronted with wonder we usually lie or shut up. We must. Impossible things demand silence for some time at least."

I wish this had been a realist show biz novel, because Carroll (son of Broadway icon June Carroll and The Hustler screenwriter Sidney Carroll!!) has show biz's number and all the unlisted ones as well.

Instead, it is, sigh, magical realist, with a pregnant pre-pubescent who might be the devil, tattoos that come to life and fly out of your back... lots of pretentious pointless
Sep 10, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it
This novel is far beyond even simple categorization, so attempting to label this as "horror", "fantasy" or even "slipstream" will be doing it much disservice. If I could choose a single world to describe this book however, well, it would be 'beautiful'. Delving into what I like to call "practical existentialism", Carroll interweaves (seemingly) conflicting narratives that touch on themes of life, death, love, friendship, purpose, and all that lies between against a backdrop of magic realism.Much ...more
Apr 09, 2014 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Andy, an old friend who writes and films
Shelves: horror, e-book
Well, if it isn't another strange one by one of my favorite authors. This time it was strange from the get-go. I need to read Doctor Faustus. And avoid horror films for a while. And apparently read the first two in the series, which seem unrelated.

May 11, 2015 Theut rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Raffazzonato, noioso, con un finale posticcio.
Dopo Bones of the Moon questo autore non mi frega più!
Kyle Muntz
Jul 29, 2012 Kyle Muntz rated it really liked it
This was the most ambiguous Carroll novel I've read. It's not as warm as the others, but it has the tightest plotting and it's by far the strangest. I'm still not entirely sure what I read; there are glimpses of that same intense humanity, but this book is much bleaker, more fragmentary, and doesn't have much of a resolution. It's more of a postmodern novel, though I don't know if that's what Carroll intended. Easily his most surreal and creepiest, and this time the mystery is genuinely impenetr ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 07, 2008 Lolly K Dandeneau rated it really liked it
A Child Across the Sky brought to light a very interesting side of good vs. evil in our lives. Carroll knows how to reach into people, taking the struggles, fears and feelings and give birth to human emotions that often are lacking in characters. As always there is a touch of the surrealin his writing and twists that leave the reader questioning their core beliefs. I always put his books away with a heavy feeling, wishing it could last longer. His books aren't always the easiest to aquire but ar ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Abeille rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books by Jonathan Carroll. It's one that pops into my thoughts at odd moments, and if I'm in a Carroll mood this (along with The Land of Laughs) is probably the book I'm most likely to grab. This book is deliciously creepy and has some wonderfully evocative dialogue. I know I'll be back to read this book again. Book #68 in the Book a Week in 2012 Challenge from the #WTM boards.
Serge Pierro
Oct 26, 2012 Serge Pierro rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Jonathan Carroll excels at exploring the relationships between his incredibly lifelike characters. In this book, he explores their darker side. A somewhat surreal story (even by Carroll's standards) that covers a lot of different themes, and is somewhat different than his other works.
Alan Nichols
Jul 14, 2013 Alan Nichols rated it it was ok
Spooky in a couple of spots and touches on some compelling ideas here and there, but ends rather abruptly and unsatisfactorily. It's all buildup that doesn't really go anywhere.
May 17, 2012 Marshall rated it really liked it
Just amazing. I think what really got me was that I had no idea what was going on at times, and it literally all came together when I read the last line of the book.
Elena Artemieva
Dec 27, 2010 Elena Artemieva rated it it was ok
Конец разочаровал. Хотя, возможно, я его не поняла. Вставки из рассказов были интереснее основного повествованеия. "Страна смеха" понравилась больше.
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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
More about Jonathan Carroll...

Other Books in the Series

Answered Prayers (6 books)
  • Bones of the Moon (Answered Prayers, #1)
  • Sleeping in Flame (Answered Prayers, #2)
  • Outside the Dog Museum (Answered Prayers, #4)
  • After Silence (Answered Prayers, #5)
  • From the Teeth of Angels (Answered Prayers, #6)

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“Time talks behind our back. To our face it's friendly and logical, never hesitating to give more of itself. But when we're not looking, it steals our lives and says bad things about us to the parts of us it's stolen” 35 likes
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