Andrew's Reviews > The Wooden Sea

The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll
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Sep 26, 2011

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Read from September 26 to 29, 2011

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 more or less the same. Some interesting ideas underpin each one, but Carroll isn't too bothered about explaining them. He just throws marbles up into the air and let's you work out the pattern. Only, after a few books, you realise there isn't one. What is left is just the journey. And mostly that journey is interesting and page-turning, whilst sometimes it's tiring.

With Carroll's books you have to suspend your disbelief that his characters have suspended their disbelief. They'll take anything that hits them in their stride. In this book, the interwoven plot is rather slapdash. The opening half was riveting, but then once Carroll set up his scenario I really got the feeling that he didn't know what to do with it. He's not great at endings (in fact, this book contains one of the better ones), but here the final half of the book isn't great at all. The writing slacks off and it just rambles a bit. Oh well, there'll always be another Carroll book to read which may or may not be better. 2.5 stars, although I don't have that option, so I'll be generous and give it three.
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