Scan 20It’s so long since I’ve written a book review that I’m  bit concerned that I’ve forgotten how but I am on a reading jag at the moment and have already built up a bit of a backlog (13 books and 7 films) with no sign of slowing down the reading/watching process, and I’m determined to catch-up before it all gets out of hand, so apologies in advance if your feeds etc. get swamped over the next week or so. Though some of the reviews may be fairly short given that I am known these days for having a poor remembery and some of this stuff goes back to May.

Let’s start with The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. This was one of my reads for Carl’s Once Upon a Time challenge which finished on 21 June so well out of date in recording my thoughts. Carroll is one of those authors that I’ve been meaning to try over the years, as other bloggers have recommended. We already had this one in the house as part of the Book God’s Fantasy Masterwork collection so it seemed a good place to start. And it’s a book about books; well, a book about stories and their power and the obsession that readers sometimes develop with particular writers, especially writers that may have influenced during  their childhoods.

The main characters in this story are Thomas, a school teacher who decides, along with his equally obsessed and fairly recently acquired girlfriend Saxony, to write a biography of the late and much-loved children’s author Marshall France. Previous attempts had failed under the apparently malign influence of France’s daughter Anna who still lives in her father’s house in the small town of Galen. Thomas and Saxony decide to move there in the hopes of persuading her to help. And that’s when things get weird.

This is one of those books that I wasn’t sure whether I liked or not until I had actually finished it, but it really stayed with me, especially the idea that the magic of writing could seep out into the real world. Elements of the story are really quite disturbing and it’s one of those fantasy novels that almost but not quite slips into horror. After a few months my considered opinion is that this is a really clever, slightly scary and distinctly odd book with a very original take on the imaginary becomes real theme and one that I may very well re-read.

And I’ll never look at bull terriers in quite the same way again.