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Glass Soup

(Vincent Ettrich #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,390 ratings  ·  81 reviews
For connoisseurs of imaginative fiction, the novels of Jonathan Carroll are a special treat that occupy a space all their own. His surreal fictions, which deftly mix the everyday with the extraordinary, have won him a devoted following. Now, in Glass Soup, Carroll continues to astound . . . .

The realm of the dead is built from the dreams--and nightmares--of the living. Oct
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by Tor Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  1,390 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I found this book during a random trip to Goodwill. Most of the times I've gone there I'll come out with a couple books that end up being nice additions to my collection. Most times, though, I usually don't find books that are just spot-on for my taste using this method. Living in the Bible Belt, there aren't just a whole lot of second hand books with metaphysical and surreal themes. Jonathan Carroll is known for his magical realism, which if you know me, you know I love some magic (read: any fa ...more
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of fantasy, creative art
Shelves: magical-realism
This is the sequel to WHITE APPLES, so Vincent and Isabelle are front and center. Booklist stated:

"Prolific and imaginative, Carroll writes delectable novels that combine riddle-like metaphysics with Magritte-like surrealism and romantic fantasy. In his latest cosmic Vienna-based tale, he echoes Hermann Hesse and Steven Millhauser as he picks up the story of the passionate lovers Vincent and Isabelle, who starred in White Apples (2002). In spite of this connection, readers new to Carroll's magic
Eliza Victoria
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I don’t want to talk too much about this excellent Jonathan Carroll novel because I want you to experience it (if ever you went ahead and read it – you should, you know) the way I experienced it. I didn’t read the blurb, and had no idea what the book was about, so essentially I threw myself into the first chapter empty of expectation. And lo, how I floundered. The novel has the most interesting chapter titles (“Tunica Molesta”, “Knee-Deep in Sunday Suits”) and the first chapter is called, “Simon ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beautiful dreamers, or for those being dreamed
Recommended to Alan by: Amanda, this time around; previous work
To live in Jonathan Carroll's world must be both beautiful and terrifying... his characters are preternaturally beautiful, graceful people with unusual names, but they have the most ordinary habits one could imagine—the men and women in a Carroll novel enjoy waking up between clean sheets; they eat big breakfasts with fresh-squeezed orange juice; they drive cars and talk on cellphones and have romances and affairs just like their mundane counterparts... but then their world just veers into the s ...more
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Everything in Glass Soup felt forced to me, from the premise to the plot to the writing. I love imaginative fiction and fabulism and everything like that, but this novel was not a good example of any of it. It's like Carroll flipped the formula around. Instead of creating an absurd scenario because it has meaning, he created an absurd scenario and then tried to infuse it with meaning. The result is a wandering, disjunct novel that doesn't deal in any new way with its rather simple premise of goo ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a sequel to “White Apples”, which I did not know before I started reading. Apparently it doesn’t much matter; the gist of it is that Vincent and Isabelle fell in love, Vincent died, and Isabell did the whole Orpheus thing and went to the land of the dead and brought him back to life. “Glass Soup” takes place very shortly after that. Isabelle is pregnant, and her child is a very important one: the fate of the universe hinges on whether he is born in the land of the living or of the d ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Years ago, if anyone would have asked me who my favorite author was, my reaction would have been immediate and enthusiastic... Jonathan Carroll, of course. Then he left his Vienna characters behind and branched out into new worlds.

I found myself reading Kissing the Beehive, The Marriage of Sticks, and White Apples with increased detachment. They were still quick reads with interesting twists and turns, but it felt to me as if the "heart" had been removed from his writing. The characters were mu
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: bored people with nothing else to do
Shelves: dumb, fantasy-light, meh
This book started out really interesting and I enjoyed the author's use of language, like "some answers in life are so weird yet satisfying that on hearing them, all the mind can do is sit back and burp." Then again, this metaphor doesn't quite make sense, which is a lot like the rest of the novel; there is something off about it. It started out fine - I was intrigued by the main character, despite his being an asshat and the surreality of his world. And then the ladies showed up, and they were ...more
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was strange picking up Glass Soup. While The Wooden Sea and White Apples fit together into the same sequence, they fit together plot wise but not so much right where the last one left off. Glass Soup is a very direct sequel to White Apples. There's enough background information in it that you don't necessarily have to read White Apples first, but I'd still recommend doing it. For one, it really helps you feel more for the characters and the choices they make.

I feel strangely about the book as
Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I was a bit disappointed ... and I can't put my finger on why.

Carroll is one of my favorite authors of all time, but the last 2 novels I've read have left me feeling flat. Something about the writing seems cockier ... the storyline sloppier.

I feel less rooted, with a few shakes of the surreal. It's more like trying to ride an eel through Wonderland or the like.

The premise is that Chaos wants to rule the world and upset the balance of life by having a live human give birth to a child in the afte
May 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, read-in-english
Jonathan Carroll is one of my favorite authors, because of his inspired word pairings, wise insights into life and interesting characters. Glass Soup does contain all that, but it's a sequel to his previous novel White Apples, and, unfortunately, it feels too much like a sequel. Although it's been years since I read White Apples, Glass Soup seemed to repeat some of the former's best parts, without adding much to them. It's not a bad book, and it's certainly accessible to people who haven't read ...more
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Phantasmagorical, surrealistic. There is a battle between God, who at the time of the Big Bang, exploded into the infinite numbers of things in the universe, the mosaic of which compose a supreme being, and Chaos. Not a preachy book, but rather one which is full of delight and wonder. I read Carroll's first book Land of Laughs when it first came out 36 years ago and I have delved into his writing intermittently over the years. I always find him immensely enjoyable, even if I can't remember detai ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This will probably be a short review – which is odd given how much I love Jonathan Carroll’s books. I read them out of order, so I am always a bit lost in his world(s). The same characters appear in several books, but I can’t keep track of what they’ve done and how they are all connected…but I am perfectly fine with that. In fact, I love it.

I was lucky enough to attend one of his readings of “White Apples” – and was sucked into his universe. Life, death, love, bull terriers, life sized bags of c
Chris Browning
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
That’s more like it - it’s still too plotty for it to be Carroll at his very best, but it’s a far looser and stranger and darker and more focused novel than White Apple. There are some fantastic characters here, Flannery is even more terrifying an opponent than the previous one and Brox and Bob are all time classics. I’m also very fond of Sunday Suits and Jelden Butter, especially as they are mere cameos but created so brilliantly that they really dazzle. The plot resolves well and it’s all very ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
The afterlife is the stuff of dreams...literally. The book opens with pretty-but-dumb Simon Haden, who is dead but doesn't quite know it. His after-death reality is the sum of all dreams he had while alive; like dreams, it is discordant and uncomfortable and non-nonsensical. It's an interesting premise - if your dreams were the stuff of worries while you were alive (missing flights, sleeping through exams, not being able to run when someone is chasing), your death is more of the same; if your dr ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not having read any Jonathan Carroll for about 20 years, I was unsure about this book, but he didn’t fail to please!!! This is the second book and I hadn’t read the first, but it didn’t seem to matter. It is a mad insight into death, which makes you think about what it could be like on the other side of life!
Jonathan Oliver
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Carroll’s metaphysical fantasies. They’re rich in weird incident and literary spectacle, but at the centre of them beats a very human heart. We navigate our lives through narrative and Carroll reminds us how rich and vital stories are. A brilliant novel, whose explorations of God, death and life are fascinating and delightful.
Dawid Myśliwiecogląda
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A decent follow-up to "White Apples". ...more
Megan micheau
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely favorite book of all time! Characters are easy to fall in love with and the story line changes the way you think about life. Really makes you think! Love! Love! Love this book!
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Leave it to Jonathan Carroll to write a sequel that doesn’t seem like a sequel. When I picked up Glass Soup there was no indication on the cover that it was it had a companion out there, that it’s was one of two and not even the first in the pair. So I read the story, out of context and alone and…enjoyed it.

Essentially Glass Soup follows the continuing adventures of the once-dead Vincent Ettrich and his pregnant girlfriend Isabelle Neukor first introduced in White Apples . Having been brough
Richard O'Brien
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
I should start by saying that I am a huge fan of Jonathan Carroll. My favorite novel of his is The Land of Laughs. My least favorite, however, would be this one.

The premise starts out well enough: an afterlife made from our dreams, a place we have to navigate and overcome. The potential here was limitless; sadly, Carroll appears to have gone into a comfortable orbit rather than reaching for the extraordinary. Included in the novel are observations about both the dead and the living. Some of thes
Mar 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Glass Soup is exactly what I've come to expect from Carroll: flashes of brilliance, moments of emotional clarity and truth, and deluges of confusing nonsense. Reading this and White Apples has really helped me understand more about myself as a reader. I enjoy imagination, but not at the cost of the integrity of a fictional world. In my view, these books would be much better if Carroll isolated a few of his brilliant ideas and actually developed them into something more substantial than whimsical ...more
Dec 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I came across Jonathan Carroll a few years back and after the first book I read (can't remember which one it was now), I couldn't believe that I hadn't read him before. I had found another new favourite author, who I would put up there with Tom Robbins and Nabokov in terms of playful yet life-querying prose. The great thing about Carroll is that he creates these utterly believeable characters, has them fall in love, and then totally fucks them up. The scenes here in which Leni is described as fa ...more
Marion Hill
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I mentioned in my previous review that I have spent the last month of year reading three novels by Jonathan Carroll. Glass Soup is the second of the Carroll novels and I will be posting a review on The Wooden Sea by the end of the year. These Carroll novels have given me a new perspective towards the fantasy genre and how far the boundaries can be extended outside of the Tolkien/Lewis/Jordan/Sanderson type of traditional fantasy.

Glass Soup is the sequel to White Apples and continues the story of
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Approximately a year ago, I read White Apples. I thought the book had a lot of promise, but ultimately didn't work. This book, the sequel to White Apples was an excellent follow up and brought the pieces together. The "rules" of the surreal universe seemed more logical and moreover more fixed in Carroll's ingenious hands. Where White Apples seemed to flounder around and the rules seemed to be changed for the convenience of the plot but not based on any internal consistency, here the surreal turn ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Philosophy in a book, set in Vienna. In this askew view of reality, people, when they die, don't just stop--they start working through their 'unresolved issues' by living in a world they created--while alive--in their dreams. But Chaos is threatening the way the world works, and if it succeeds humans and the rest of creation will cease to exist. Like, forever. Like a tree falling in the forest and not making a sound because no one is there to hear it fall.

This is a deceptively deep book, easily
Apr 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Carroll's novels - for me, they are some of the most enjoyable reads I have done. Yet this one, which picks up from the better 'White Apples,' seems to "run out of steam."

Still, it is full of everything I love about a Johnathan Carroll novel: fantastic settings/concepts grounded in an everyday kind of reality, and vibrant characters. To read a Carroll novel is to enter a skewed version of the world we know, yet it never feels over-explained. Instead, Carroll lets his concepts unfold, alon
Elizabeth Hunter
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: uw, uncat
Carroll is such an inventive, free-thinking writer that I frequently find myself shaking my head in amazement at the leaps he permits his pen to take, creating worlds in which it feels that anything is possible and yet the pieces come together with their own internal logic. My only complaint here is that too often he resolves cliffhangers by switching to a different scene and returning after the problem is resolved with a handwaving "after they solved that..." comment. Also, the appearance of mu ...more
Catherine Siemann
Jun 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I went through a phase where I had to read absolutely everything Jonathan Carroll had written -- and in the course of a year or so, I did -- if it was in print, I bought it, if my university library had it, I checked it out -- I devoured his writing. Somehow, when Glass Soup came out in 2005, I bought it, and just never got around to reading it.

Now I can remember what I liked about Carroll's writing; it's real world fantasy that's original and unpredictable and very well-written. I found the cha
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, found myself ah-hahing a lot, or thinking, right on, or laughing out loud at the imagination of this author. It is a book that makes you think about your dreams, god, and reality all at the same time. God is a mosaic, that is constantly changing and reforming and evolving. We are all pieces of the mosaic, finding our way to fit into the whole, and it is a beautiful way to think of life.
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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

Other books in the series

Vincent Ettrich (2 books)
  • White Apples (Vincent Ettrich, #1)

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