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I had not read or even heard of Jonathan Carroll before I came across this suggestion from the estimable Mr Gaiman. And I am very glad that I did because this book is so compelling, so enthralling, and at the same time quite, quite disturbing, that one is hooked from the very start.
It seems a trait with Carroll's work that the story itself, the real meat as it were, never really gets going until about two-thirds of the way through. The last third is where the action is at yet the rest is about the fleshing out of the characters, the setting of the tone, the background, everything that makes a masterpiece what it is. And despite all this apparent extraneous padding you still want to hear it. You want to know what makes the characters tick, their faults, their foibles, because I have yet to come across anyone who better portrays real people, complete with hang-ups and doubts, as does Jonathan Carroll.
The title of this book is the title of a fictional book by an author much admired by the main protagonists. That so much detail of this fictional book is included makes one wish that it was for real, so fantastical are the characters and clues to the mythical text.
The end, when one eventually gets there, is fairly predictable. You can sense how things are going to pan out and yet it is still a surprise when the inevitable happens.
Edoardo Ballerini narrated this story impeccably and, as a result, will have me hunting down more of his work.
Buy, listen and be beguiled.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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This debut novel by Jonathan Carroll deserves to be discovered by many more listeners. If you love a story that slowly slides from reality into fantasy and horror then this is the audio for you. Introduced and recommended by Neil Gaiman it also had a host of fantastic reviews at the time of its release, including Ruth Rendell.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is my fourth Gaimen Presents book. Audible had a good idea in choosing someone to to do this, but I believe they choose the wrong man. A look at the ratings of most of the Gaimen Presents books show that he has not done a good job. The ratings suck on most of the books. Having said that I liked this book. It is an odd quirky thing, that is hard to fit into any genre. I liked the main character until he started cheating on his girlfriend and then I saw him as a creep. The book did mange to keep my attention and never was I bored. It also was never great with the exception of the epilogue. The epilogue is probably one of the best I have ever read. The theme of the story is similar to Redshirts by Scalzi.
Why do some reviewers repeat what is in the summary? Just tell us how you liked the book, we don't need long summaries of the story which is given to us already.
The narrator was okay. He did not pronounce Rolla, correctly. You would thing that is something he would have find out about before recording.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
Was The Land of Laughs worth the listening time?
I got half way through this book and was so. intrigued. Here we had this utterly delectable little novel with a great premise, wonderful characters, and an completely unique perspective, and by the time I got right smack dab in the middle of it I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out what diabolical mystery it could all be building up to. And then I found out and all I could think was "oh, is that all? well I can tell where this is headed".
And the book rolled on. And it ended just like I thought it would (I really loved the closing lines though) which afforded me the opportunity to nod sagely to myself while listening to my ipod between classes and ruminate on the inadvisability of trying to predict plot twists. For a long time after I sat and mulled over why I thought it was that I didn't enjoy the latter half of this book as much as the former. I think its because I've just read, if at all possible, too much fantasy. If you know your tropes you can spot this one from a mile away.
But I still liked everything else about it. And obviously I am in the minority in my opinion about not being so hot on it. I don't mean to seem self congratulatory for having figured it out, that's not my intention. I was just hoping for something different. That being said I do not consider this to have been a waste of a credit - I still enjoyed the story, I'm still utterly fascinated by the characters and Ballerini did a fantastic job in bringing it all to life. Quibbles aside, I still recommend it.
In the end I think this book did what it was supposed to do - it introduced me to an author I never would have heard about otherwise, and it made me want to listen to his other works (I've added everything else he offers through Neil Gaiman Presents to my wish list). While this might not have been a strong entry into his cannon for me personally, I can tell he's someone whose work will appeal to me and I look foreword to listening to more first chance I get.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful