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The Wooden Sea (Crane's View #3)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,595 ratings  ·  118 reviews
From the moment a three-legged dog limps into the life of Police Chief Frannie McCabe and drops dead at his feet, McCabe finds himself in a new world of disturbing miracles. His small town of Crane's View, New York has long been a haven of harmony and comfort--but now he finds himself afflicted by the inexplicable, by omens that converge to throw his life into doubt. And w...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 9th 2002 by Tor Books (first published 2001)
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It's rare these days that a book "has me from hello" (to paraphrase a cheesy line from a *urp* Tom Cruise movie), but this one did. Check out the first two paragraphs:

"Never buy yellow clothes or cheap leather. That's my credo and there are more. Know what I like to see? People killing themselves. Don't misunderstand; I'm not talking about the poor fucks who jump out windows or stick their sorry heads into plastic bags forever. No "Ultimate Fighting Championship" either, which is only a bunch o...more
i am simultaneously amused and bemused by jonathan carroll's books. they make so much sense and nonsense at the same time.

they also remind me of one of my favourite poems, by stephen crane:

Many red devils ran from my heart
And out upon the page,
They were so tiny
The pen could mash them.
And many struggled in the ink.
It was strange
To write in this red muck
Of things from my heart.

Well dang. After being utterly and completely entranced with The Land of Laughs by Carroll I gave this one a spin, and it fell flat. It was interesting enough to keep reading, but this is one that I won't remember the details to in just a few short months. Nothing really caught my attention, nothing compelled me and dragged me along.

I think the thing that put me off was that there were no rules to the madness he presented here. The Land of Laughs might not have had many rules, but it also might...more
What is it about a book from someone you've loved?

For me it's a direct challenge to the reframing that we all do- 'It wasn't meant to be'- 'there wasn't enough honesty'- 'we both failed' - 'I never cleaned the bathroom'- to put a person behind us. There's the immediate purge- the .mp3s and .avi's go in the iconographic garbage.

Friends take sides: 'We never liked her entirely, anyways.' New haircuts are applied. Environments are changed. The myth becomes truth: It wasn't meant to be. Mistakes wer...more
Some quotes I bookmarked:

“Over a lifetime our definitions of things change radically, but because it’s so gradual we’re blind to them. As the years pass, our names for things no longer fit but we still keep using them.”

“We look as who we were, once upon a time, and see that person as stupid or amusing, but never essential. Like flipping through old snapshots of ourselves wearing funny hats or big lapels. How silly I was back then, how naive. And how wrong to think that! Because now when you are...more
Brian Anderson
An interesting story with a "heart-warming" message to tell. I use the air quotes there because the message felt somewhat forced to me, with the author basically spelling it out for the reader at the end of the book. I think if it had been worked into the story more effectively, it would have made for a much more satisfying read. Despite this, I thought the story and characters were interesting and well developed, and the intricacies of the plot and the jumps through time were easy to follow and...more
I really love Jonathan Carroll's writing, the way he sets up some great characters, makes you believe in them, and then hits them with something so leftfield that it pulls the carpet from underneath them and makes them re-evaulate everything they previously thought to be true. However, having come across Carroll's work about five years ago and reading on average one ot two of his books a year in no particular order, I'm coming to the conclusion that he's a bit of a one trick pony. Each book is m...more
I slipped it under his collar. Like an Egyptian king going to the hereafter surrounded by his worldly possessions, Old Vertue now had a beautiful feather to carry along. It was getting late and I had other things to do. Quickly filling the grave, I tamped it down as best I could, hoping another animal wouldn't catch the scent and dig it up.

Frannie McCabe is chief of police in Crane's View, a small town in New York state. He is generally happy with his lot, having outgrown his wild rebellious tee...more
Not only have I never read Jonathan Carroll, I don't think I've ever read this genre - although I'm not quite sure I know which genre it is. Sci-fi? Fantasy? Metaphysical something or other?
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed Carroll's writing. I found his main character Frannie, at all ages, totally engaging and believable. I wish the relationship with his wife had been further developed, but loved the relationship with the stepdaughter as well.
I felt like I was a participant in someone's...more
This is one of the rare books that causes you to pause and ask yourself "What am I reading?" Not once, not twice, but a minimum of at least three times. The Wooden Sea is not a book for everyone; not even a book for most people.

Carroll's writing is utterly shameless. He writes for himself entirely, and what comes out is a set of characters incredibly well-defined. His setting, his characters, the surrealistic nature of his plot and universe itself all come off as incredibly reasonable. He bumps...more
Steven Cole
The story starts off with a one-eyed, three-legged dog expiring like an old wounded warrior, and then things get stranger and stranger. “The Wooden Sea” is a novel I picked up thanks to a recommendation in the “2003 Nebula Awards Showcase” as an example of the direction the fantasy genre was heading. And “fantasy” here means fantastical, not medieval.

I think if I had to give just one label to this book, it would be “surreal.” The book starts off odd, then gets strange, and then gets truly weird...more
Roger Bailey
This is one strange book, strange like a dream. In the literature of the fantastic strange happenings in a small town is a common theme, but in this one the strange is taken another step. The entire book is like one continuous dream. For example, there is an instance in which the protagonist gets out of bed and walks through his house in his underwear. He is interupted on his way back to bed by a visitor and he never gets back to bed. He also never gets a chance to get dressed. He also ends up o...more
This was a very odd book and not a book I would normally pick up and read. I was captured by the humor and the idea of this very strange plot. It’s unique qualities kept my interest. The story is about McCabe. He is a cop in the town he grew up in. He is on his second marriage to a woman he really loves and a step father to Pauline. It was nice to see a good relationship between the step-parent and step-child for a change. One day a strange, crippled dog wanders into town and McCabe adopts him....more
A longtime lover of literature, I once asked a blind date if she was into books. "Books are alright," she said. "Although I prefer nonfiction. And I definitely don't have time for magical realism."

That phrase -- "I don't have time for magical realism." -- became sort of a running gag among my book loving friends and I. Maybe we're just mocking a world that brooks the supernatural less and less each day, or maybe we're just thumbing our noses at the idea that dream lives are only the domain of th...more
This book would be enjoyed by people who like the Thursday Next novels. It includes time travel and other supernatural plot twists that cause it to be pegged as a "science fiction" book, a category that always reminds me of Bradbury and Asimov. This is more just a strange book set in the present time but with very unusual, extraordinary events. The author is trying to figure out what a three-legged dog and a feather and a bone have to do with each other and what else is needed to finish the mach...more
Strange. Poignant. Haunting. The experience of reading a Jonathan Carroll story is hard to describe to someone who has never encountered his work, and I'm not going to try here. The Wooden Sea, like other Carroll works, starts of in the here-and-now, the land of the real and understandable, but it doesn't take long before the story flies into the dark woods at the fringes of town into the unfamiliar territory of dreams. It takes a writer like Carroll to navigate this territory, to take the reade...more
Elizabeth La Lettrice
This book was so weird... I really don't know how to describe it. It was so out of the box for me but I really enjoyed it and was actually excited to get back to reading it whenever I had to deal with real life things.

I'm not sure to whom I would recommend it. Maybe to someone who just wants to read something fun and not predictable in any way.

Also, I don't think anyone but me would find this interesting but this is the second book in a row that I've read that included the line from poet Franç...more
I like my fantasy book to fit one another. What I mean is, you can have your fantasy world as crazy as you like but please stick to your rules. Because otherwise it would just fall apart and unbelieveable.

Carroll broke too many of his own rules in this book for me. His concept of different selves just plain sloppy and used mainly to make it easier for him but not for the benefit of the story. When I tried to see the big picture I didn't see how it all connects the way it should on time-travel th...more
Sarah Sammis
If Joseph C. Lincoln had set down to write The Man Who Folded Himself he would have come up with something like what I'm currently reading. Fran, a small town chief of police, has found himself in the middle of a time traveling mystery / conspiracy where the fate of Crane's View rests on his ability to sort things out. The first chapter didn't do much for me but by the second chapter the quirky plot began to surface. By the third chapter I was hooked all the way through the epilogue which seemed...more
"He created it all - the universe, you, me...everything, and then rested. But before he did it, he arranged to be awakened by all of us, in concert. He gave us the knowledge and the resources, as well sufficient time to develop individually so that together we could build a device that would awaken God when it was time." Once again, Carroll delivers with this novel. Complete stars for humour, interesting concepts and views of things, story plot and good writing. I'll pick this novel up time and...more
What a strange, lovely ride. The humor in the narration captured me from the starting line, and things did not stop or slow down at all from there. An intricate plot but Carroll makes it readable and easy enough to follow, timejumps and all. I bought this book for $3 at HPB a few years ago and let it idle on my shelf for a while, never quite sure if I wanted to dip my toes into a slice of a genre that is so historically hit or miss for me. Now that I've zoomed through the novel in a few days' ti...more
Alright, I may be over exploring Jonathan Carroll books. They are all turning out to be the same and are kind of hit and miss; he's like a less-consistent Murakami. I still recommend checking him out though - his books are in parts unexpectedly true and touching in a way that I haven't experienced with other books. I probably like The Ghost in Love best.
tons of good quotes, and some great ideas on time travel and what would you say to yourself at different points in your life. Shows how things are not what they seem and the present/past/future can always change.
Wonderfully bizarre... I really enjoyed it. I'm going to look for more by this author. I'm glad my friend Judy read and reviewed it - never would have found this book otherwise.
I could tell in the first ten pages that this writer knew his stuff. I am unfamiliar with this genre, but after just a few chapters I found myself seeking out other works by Mr. Carroll and was pleased to discover there are quite a few. Right away I saw similarities to Stephen King. It is interesting that my first foray into the world of Jonathan Carroll came with the final book in a series of three. (Thanks Mom). Try as I might, I couldn't predict what was going to happen next; and I like that....more
Amy Goalen
"I knew where those tears came from. That very deep and secret address: seventeen year-year-old McCabe Street. The place no one had ever been allowed to go or see or even know about. The place locked tight away behind walls of cruelty, bluff, and resentment. Where love too fragile or deformed lived, as well as an overbearing fear that everything you ever dreamed of doing would either stink or embarrass you or fail miserably."

Jonathan Carroll never disappoints! This is the 3rd book I've read by t...more
"La vita non è altro che una serie di contraddizioni con cui è necessario imparare a fare i conti".

Il mare di legno, terzo e ultimo pannello della trilogia di Crane's View, pubblicato per la prima volta nel 2000, è davvero un libro spartiacque; o almeno, così apparirà ai lettori di Carroll.
Se da un lato questo ultimo episodio rappresenta il culmine dell'escalation surreale che ha invaso la tranquilla e anonima cittadina di Crane's View, dall'altro i lettori attenti di Carroll vi vedranno un salt...more
Jan 26, 2013 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of urban fantasy or magical realism
Recommended to Judy by: SqueakyChu bookray
This book was difficult for me to put down. This description from the Rockey Mountain New review is about right: "Thought critics may try, there's no way to pigeonhole The Wood Sea
This was my first book by this author, and I'm going to go find the others and read them. It was a real treat. I kept thinking that his writing style reminded me more than a bit of brilliant author Spider Robinson's, which in my mind is no small compliment. Robinson and Carroll both have the unique ability to have a ch...more
"How do you row across a wooden sea?"

The question is meant to baffle, confuse, make you think. Carroll never really gives a straight answer; he just lets the characters do the talking. But even they are as mystified as you or I.

And that's the thing with this book. You can almost imagine Carroll setting up the walls of his universe, sitting back, and watching his characters (and by proxy the readers) try to figure it all out. The book plays like an episode of The Twilight Zone that Salvador Dali...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Il mare di legno, terzo e ultimo pannello della trilogia di Crane's View, pubblicato per la prima volta nel 2000, è davvero un libro spartiacque; o almeno, così apparirà ai lettori di Carroll.
Se da un lato questo ultimo episodio rappresenta il culmine dell'escalation surreale che ha invaso la tranquilla e anonima cittadina di Crane's View, dall'altro i lettori attenti di Carroll vi vedranno un salto qualitativo, insieme tematico e silistico, che prepara il terreno, per così dire, ai lavori futur...more
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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...
The Land of Laughs Bones of the Moon (Answered Prayers, #1) White Apples (Vincent Ettrich, #1) Sleeping in Flame (Answered Prayers, #2) The Ghost in Love

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“strach nie jest jak choroba zakaźna, nie przychodzi skądś, ale sam go tworzysz. głównie przez miłość. im bardziej coś kochasz, tym bardziej dręczy cię myśl, że mógłbyś to stracić. wtedy strach jest zawsze gdzieś tuż obok.” 9 likes
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