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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otherworldly offbeat fiction
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...
Published on Sept. 20 2003 by Peggy Vincent

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment
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...
Published on Nov. 15 2002 by sasha_


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment, Nov. 15 2002
By 
sasha_ (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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
By 
Peggy Vincent "author and reader" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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
By 
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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
By 
Matt Sedik "monkeyboy" (Daly City, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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 (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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.
Enjoy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fairytale Destiny, Dec 26 2001
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Carroll's Walker in Wonderland?, Sept. 4 2001
By 
edzaf (Chandler, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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. Other reviewers have likened Carroll's work to a "Twilight Zone" episode or a David Lynch film. This being my first Carroll novel, I found these to be accurate comparisons for the Carroll uninitiated. The novel starts innocently enough as we meet Walker Easterling, a recently divorced part-time actor from America living in Vienna. But soon readers are plunged into a bizarre, dreamlike world where it is simply impossible to predict where the author will take you next. In this respect, Jonathan Carroll may have something in common with namesake Lewis Carroll of "Alice in Wonderland" fame. Not unlike Alice, Walker in the second half of this is novel finds himself in quite a rabbit hole of his own.
To give away any of the details of "Sleeping In Flame" would spoil the fun of this novel. Whether one wishes to take Walker's wild and weird journey literally or figuratively, an open mind is a must. Many of the covers of Carroll's novels contain a blurb from Pat Conroy proclaiming the author "a cult waiting to be born." As with many "cult classic" candidates, "Sleeping In Flame" (and from what I gather Carroll, in general) may be too far a stretch for more conservative readers. However, for those willing to take a wacky ride, Jonathan Carroll is certainly a driver that will have you reaching for your seat belt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical in Every Possible Way..., Aug. 16 2001
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
_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 expect from this book, but are absolutely delighted with every unexpected turn. It begins, much like Carroll's other novels, as a regular storyline. Suddenly, though, and without warning we are thrust into the unknown, with the main character. It seems that Carroll is asking us to follow Walker Easterling on his quest to find himself. Just as the characters learn about themselves as characters, readers learn about themselves AS readers. Not only must we encounter the unknown in this book, like Walker, we must manipulate it and force it to help us survive, to help us remain within the domain of at least partial understanding.
I think, above most things, this book is about survival. Walker must encounter a strange new world, with new rules, in order to survive. He must work magic, and sacrifice magic, in order to have his love, Maris York, survive. Ultimately, his desperate attempts at survival threaten the survival of his unborn son. Strange that a book whose main theme relies so much upon reincarnation would simultaneously center itself around the need to survive. In order to live as a normal human being, Walker must admit to himself that he is a fictional character. In order to survive, then, the characters in this novel must realize that they might not exist.
The power of this novel exists beyond the boundaries of the printed page, and might not be completely evident with a first encounter. Nevertheless, _Sleeping in Flame_ is a novel that works on several different levels. On the one hand, it is an entirely satisfying fantasy novel, complete with memorable characters and a quickly evolving plot. On the other, it offers an interpretation of reading, writing, survival, death and love that I find particularly poignant. One of the most delightful parts of this novel, though, is the way in which these interpretations are presented to the reader. Carroll is a most subtle writer when it comes to philosophy. Readers may want to think deeply about some of the thematic issues that arise from this novel. Or they can just toss them aside and enjoy it as a well-crafted fantasy story. We, as readers, have the power to decide how much we want to put into this novel. Carroll just sits back, with the knowing smirk he displays on the back cover, and waits for us to make our own decisions.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Half Good, Half Trivial, Ultimately Average, March 31 2001
By 
John Hovig (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
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 situations, but half-way through, the story turned toward fantasy, and failed. The fantasy world was believable and well described, but ultimately simplistic, bordering on childish. When the punchline was finally revealed at the end of the book, it was just that: a punchline. The book was basically a four-page cocktail story---something the author thought was probably a neat idea, to be told with a wink and a smirk---but when expanded to over 270, it became a major disappointment. It was enjoyable enough to read, but after finishing its 270 pages, I concluded that the journey was not worth the destination. I felt cheated.
The worst part was that characters and events introduced throughout the first half (or three-quarters) of the book completely evaporated during the final half (or one-quarter). So many interesting characters and situations were thrown away without even a second word, that the last part of the story was skeletal and bare. One gets the sense that Carroll spent so much time writing the first half that he hurried the third quarter and slapped the last quarter on so he could ship it within the publication deadline; as if he realized half-way through that the basic premise simply wasn't supporting a full novel, and aborted the novel in the easiest possible way.
In brief, the author took a small idea, expanded it into an intriguing exposition, but collapsed it into a trivial conclusion, failing to satisfy me on a literary or deep level. The author showed promise in his style and skill, and his other works may show better results than this one---I'm not familiar with any of them, and I would still like to read them---but this one failed to move me at all. If anything, it made me feel tricked, by throwing away what I thought was an interesting set-up for a cheap conclusion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone optioned this book yet for the movie?, Dec 30 1999
By 
Xanmom (California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sleeping in Flame (Paperback)
When i first read this book almost 10 years ago, i bored all my friends telling them it was the best piece of fiction published in decades. I just finished it last night for the 2nd time and although some of its shortcomings are more evident to me now, it still blows me away - it brings together archetypal themes and myths and meshes them into this compelling modern life setting. Shortcomings: weak character development, namely the primary relationship b/w Maris and Walker is slightly unbelievable - ok, so she's a supermodel, but what else? why does Walker fall for her? also, the dialogue is not that smooth at times. But it still doesn't matter, b/c jon carroll does such a great job at sucking you into this hip euro coolworld and then knocks you over w/, well, the magic. i've read all of his books (no easy job, given the scarcity of his novels - and why is that? ) and this is my favorite. also, i'm not in the movie biz, but it's Hard not to imagine great scenes / camera angles / actors while reading this book. Jon Carroll - if you're reading this, contact me if you're in NYC!
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Sleeping in Flames
Sleeping in Flames by Jonathan Carroll (Hardcover - Feb. 15 1989)
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