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Sleeping in Flame [Paperback]

Jonathan Carroll
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 14 1990 Vintage Contemporaries
Walker Easterling, an actor confused about his orphan past, falls passionately in love with a beautiful supermodel. When they establish their lives together in Vienna, a series of bizarre events reveals that Walker has led many past lives. An unresolved conflict may lead to the death of their unborn child.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this "farfetched" story of reincarnation among the beautiful people, an actor stumbles upon traces of his previous lives. "In what begins as a highly literate parapsychological puzzler, Carroll shifts gears into fantasy and fairy tale, with results that may not be wholly satisfactory to fans of any one genre," commented PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Jonathan Carroll has the magic. He'll lend you his eyes; and you will never see the world in quite the same way ever again."
--Neil Gaiman

"Jonathan Carroll is a master of sunlit surrealism."
--Jonathan Lethem

"I envy anyone who has yet to enjoy the sexy, eerie and addictive novels of Jonathan Carroll. They are delicious treats--with devilish tricks inside them." (Michael Dirda Washington Post Book World)

"Carroll is a magic realist who plunders our unconscious for profound emotional truths." (Carl Bromley The Nation) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
IT TOOK ME LESS THAN HALF A LIFETIME TO REALIZE THAT REGRET IS one of the few guaranteed certainties. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment Nov. 15 2002
By sasha_
For the most part, this is an excellent book. It begins as a fairly normal love story in Vienna, but elements of the bizarre keep seeping into this ordinary artistic world. Pretty soon, magic, suspense, and amazing twists are everywhere. It's delightful and heartwrenching. I was reading it, tense and excited, tears occasionally coming to my eyes, and wondering to myself how many friends I could recommend it to.
Then, suddenly, it ended. And the ending was no thrill--the complex story the author was weaving around the tale of Rumplestiltskin suddenly fell apart into a barely tenable, uncompelling solution. And then, to make matters worse, came the incomprehensible section in which, as best I can figure out, Little Red Riding Hood makes a threatening first appearance. Don't worry--I haven't spoiled the book itself for you, because this section has almost nothing to do with the rest of the book.
I was very disappointed--I'd rather simply read a bad book, than read a book that is astonishingly good, right up until the bad ending. If you ask me, Carroll's editor isn't doing his or her job. However, I'll be on the lookout for books of Carroll's that are more complete, because his style is, at its best, genuinely fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otherworldly offbeat fiction Sept. 20 2003
Not your usual run-of-the-mill novel, Sleeping in Flame will win your heart with its delightful blend of romance and humor. But then, people who at first glance seem strikingly glamorous turn...well, weird. This book and its author have the potential of developing a cult following. It begins with Walker, a screenwriter living in Vienna, meeting Maris, a model on the run from a potentially violent lover. The two fall in love, and then author Carroll begins leading us and them down bizarre and frightening paths - all the while making sure we're laughing at every twist in the path.
Don't think you've got the tone of this novel figured out; the author's about to pull the rug out from under you. But you'll willingly suspend belief and go along for the magic carpet ride, I betcha.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Carroll Oct. 17 2000
This is my favourite book of his and I have read them all--over and over again. The first half of the book will have you liking the characters, wishing you could meet them and go for coffee. They are nice but not too nice-nerdy; they love but not too stupidly. Then the second half begins and you are in Carroll-land. He is so good at what he does and he is also very nice (has a web-site) I realize that he's going into another 'genre' which is not as magical but his talent IS the magic. When I am ill in the hospital, I bring his books--they are so readable and ethereal. Love him and hope to get the next book coming out soon in 2001!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy tales unbound July 24 2000
I'm amazed Carroll hasn't taken off in the US. Most of his earlier works are out of print, which is a shame. He's one of of the most talented authors I've read. Some books have a couple of great lines that really stand out, with Carroll you get that every other page. The man is amazing in his ability to capture the moment between 2 people.
Most of his novels revolve a particular set of folkswhose orbits are somehow tied together. If you like this book I'd suggest Bones of the Moon and Outside the Dog Museum (if you can find them.) Just beware, his books are addicting!
Carroll is a true craftsman of his art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 21st century Zen master... March 11 2002
By Zentao
The story is similar in theme and style to another of the crazy wisdom writers out there today: Haruki Murakami. Carroll links some suburban fantasy with some interesting Eastern ideas about reincarnation and the good old Brothers Grimm in a manner somewhat related to Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut.
The story gradually unfolds to reveal the core issues we all cringe from: fate and love. The main character gradually comes to terms with his own rather interesting history while trying to keep his magical relationship with his newly-discovered love. Along the way he encounters a very interesting range of characters from Hollywood movie moguls to a Jewish shaman who lives in the suburbs.
Then there is the setting: that magical city of Vienna. Carroll has a lot of fun with his American-in-Europe character and there are some very humourous segments included in the tale. Overall Murakami has done a slightly better job from a stylistic viewpoint but I can't deny that Carrol's book was a lot of fun.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fairytale Destiny Dec 26 2001
Actor Walker Easterling has a unique origin--and you'll never "guess" what it is until you immerse yourself into this thoroughly enjoyable albeit quirky read. In a style reminiscient of Graham Joyce, the author begins Walker's strange revelation with a single life-altering action; he dramatically rescues model-beautiful Maris from an abusive boyfriend. As his act of chivalry blooms into love against the romantic backdrop of Vienna, counter-productive events inhibit the relationship from reaching the "happy-ever-after" stage. Indeed the deepening of Maris and Walker's love for each other corresponds directly to Walker's awakening to a supernatural power which he discovers he has carried with him through a series of past-lives. Intrinsic to all these lives is the same element, a strong father-son bond broken by the love of a beautiful woman, but as Walker never knew his "real" father, he is puzzled as to how the story will play out in the life he is living now.
With no strain to the reader's sensibilites, Carroll easily moves his story along like a cameraman flashing in and out of reality and dream sequences. Its one fault, perhaps is Walker's eventual reckoning with his past and confrontation with the father figure---the simplicity of the solution seemed a little convenient. In its defense however, it works with the overall theme and mood of the piece. Although the reader figures out ahead of time most of what Walker will finally confirm for himself as his powers of perception and magic strengthen, the strength of the book lies in the charmingly jumpy way Carroll tells his story and the utter insouciance of both his main characters.
All in all this was a very pleasant read that I looked forward to picking up and was reluctant to put down.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars from THE NATION magazine
In Carroll's masterpiece, Sleeping in Flame, what begins as a brooding,witty and bittersweet novel--think Paul Auster or Haruki Murakami--about a film actor and his desire for the... Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Carroll's Walker in Wonderland?
If you are looking for a reading experience like none that you have had before Jonathan Carroll's "Sleeping In Flame" might just be the book for you. Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2001 by edzaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical in Every Possible Way...
_Sleeping in Flame_ is a mystic journey, both for the characters seeking to find themselves and for the audience--who, after a few hundred pages, no longer know exactly what to... Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2001 by Roger T. Whitson
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like David Lynch!
For anyone who knows who David Lynch is (the guy who did Twin Peaks and Wild Thing)I'm telling you this book is like reading one of his movies! Read more
Published on July 18 2001 by Deanya D. Batista
3.0 out of 5 stars Half Good, Half Trivial, Ultimately Average
This book has two halves, the simplistic second ruining the interesting first.
The first half was complex, with good characters and a number of intriguing potential... Read more
Published on March 31 2001 by John Hovig
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
To put it simply I will never trust a fairy tale again.
Published on March 25 2001 by Deep Forsert
5.0 out of 5 stars As fine a contemporary fantasy as you could read.
I've only read two books by Jonathan Carroll so far, this one and The Voice of Our Shadow. This is my favorite of the two, mainly because Voice of Our Shadow is closer to being a... Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2001 by Earl P. Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars A fairy-tale nightmare
This is a phenomenal book. Carroll creates characters you care about and can relate to. You get to know them well before Carroll twists the world sideways and suddenly the... Read more
Published on Dec 5 2000 by Mekano 46
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