Jonathan Carroll

Jonathan Carroll has published sixteen novels including THE LAND OF LAUGHS, THE WOODEN SEA, and OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM, two story collections, and a collection of short nonfiction pieces, THE CROW’S DINNER. His work has been translated into over thirty languages. He’s won a Pushcart Prize, World Fantasy award, British Fantasy award, French Fantasy award twice, and the Bram Stoker award. His novella BLACK COCKTAIL was dramatized in a one man show at the Edinburgh Festival. For many years he was a teacher at the American International School in Vienna while secretly writing his novels under the covers at night, lit only by hope and a dull flashlight.

He daily updates a very lively Facebook page, and a website with samples galore of his work, long and short.

‘A Jonathan Carroll novel is always that rarest of reading experiences: a genuine surprise, filled with wonder, and apt to change how you look at the world.’National Post

You can read a nice, long interview with the author over on Rain Taxi Review (2003), and also on LA Review of Books (2014).

Agent Contact: John Berlyne

Photo credit: Mateusz Skwarczek / Agencja Gazeta



    • General Praise

      ‘There are a few writers who are special… They make the world in their books; or rather, they open a window or a door or a magic casement, and they show you the world in which they live… Jonathan Carroll’s a changer. He’s one of the special ones, one of the few. He paints the world he sees. He opens a window you did not know was there and invites you to look through it. He gives you his eyes to see with, and he gives you the world all fresh and honest and new.’Neil Gaiman

      ‘An extraordinary writer… Jonathan Carroll is a cult waiting to happen.’Pat Conroy

      ‘I love Jonathan Carroll’s books. They are as surprising and delightful as Rottweiler puppies — and they bite, too.’Audrey Niffenegger

      ‘Jonathan Carroll is a master of sunlit surrealism — his beguiling, impossible novels are like Frank Capra films torn open to reveal the Philip K. Dick or Julio Cortázar mechanisms ticking away at their cores.’Jonathan Lethem

      ‘Carroll is one of my heroes. For the freedom he gives himself to crowd his pages with imagined and observed reality, cheek to jowl. For his readiness to be silly right after he’s broken your heart. He’s really created a unique style — sexy, playful, and mordant all at once.’Jonathan Lethem (again)

      ‘Carroll’s work is unlike any other’s. When you start one of his novels or short stories, your every instinct is going to lead you in the wrong direction — sooner rather than later, the book or story is going to turn itself inside out and leave you gasping.’Peter Straub

      ‘Carroll specializes in a difficult-to-label melding of emotionally acute realism with varying degrees of the fantastic… there’s no one else like him, and a Jonathan Carroll novel is always that rarest of reading experiences: a genuine surprise, filled with wonder, and apt to change how you look at the world… One of the key defining aspects of Carroll’s work is its heart, the powerful empathy one experiences within his fiction…’National Post

      ‘Reading Jonathan Carroll, one thinks of a blind person stroking a drugged tiger — an experience that is sensuous, dreamy, and dangerous all at once. And then, of course, the tiger wakes up.’Bruce Wagner

      ‘Jonathan Carroll is far superior to most writers working today, anywhere. His perceptive, death-haunted tales are so evocative, and unforgettable, that after reading them it’s hard not to imagine that the events described did not happen to you.’ SPIN Magazine


      THE LAND OF LAUGHS is a book for anyone who has ever believed that a favorite book could be a safe place to go when things get hard.’Neil Gaiman

      ‘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.’Washington Post


      BONES OF THE MOON is chilling and no one has ever written a book quite like it…’ Pat Conroy

      ‘A gorgeous, frightening, imaginative, loving, unsettling, funny, gruesome, thought-provoking novel. This grand book is a triumph.’Stephen King

      ‘Amazing, perplexing, and unforgettable. A magical world that forces the reader to put aside his own and live only in wonder.’ Stanislaw Lem


      ‘One of the key defining aspects of Carroll’s work is its heart, the powerful empathy one experiences within his fiction. Clearly, that’s a result of how he sees the world. THE CROW’S DINNER is rich in stories of senior citizens in cafes, of homeless kids in parks, of facades breaking down for the barest of moments, witnessed only by Carroll. It is a world of night streets, of failed love affairs, of mysterious shops and the magic of snow… THE CROW’S DINNER is a rich feast, and one which should not be consumed whole. This is not a book for a single, concerted, cover-to-cover read. Rather, it should be picked up, and opened at random. Read a piece or two, and then put the book down, and go out into the world with new eyes. For just a moment, find the wonder in the faces and lives of others. If the world is going to be too much with us, we can at least change the terms of our engagement.’National Post


      ‘I always look forward to a new book by Jonathan Carroll — his work is consistently witty, compassionate and astounding, and GLASS SOUP is no exception. It is a tender, funny love story, both madcap and darkly metaphysical: a singular creation that further adds to the fabulous Carroll oeuvre.’Dan Chaon

      ‘An ambitious retelling of the cosmic struggle between good and evil… make Carrol’s latest a delicious dish… This is a marvelous comic feast.’Publishers Weekly

      ‘The plausibly surreal GLASS SOUP provides more proof Carroll is as marvelous a writer as you’ll find in this life or any other.’Cinefantastique

      GLASS SOUP is a wonder-story rich and complete in its own right, but fans will be interested to know that it also serves as a sequel to the tale of Vincent Ettrich and his beloved Isabelle Neukor, continuing the modern-day Orpheus tale begun in White Apples. Carroll’s flights of imagination seem boundless, but, amazingly, his ambitious themes and hallucinatory landscape don’t get the better of this tightly plotted, beautifully written story. This may be his best work yet.’The Ruminator


      ‘[Carroll] has a high reputation in literary SF and fantasy circles. This collection of 20 pieces of his short fiction suggests that it is well deserved. He has a conspicuous knack for giving new dimensions to venerable themes… Carroll’s stories are tightly focused, with hardly an ill-chosen or misplaced word. They are distinguished by a powerfully haunting quality that derives from a deceptively simple combination of fantastic events related in the easy voice of a raconteur telling simple anecdotes.’Publishers Weekly