Fiction Reviews

The Wooden Sea

(2000) Jonathan Carroll, Gollancz, 16.99, hdbk, 247pp, ISBN 0-575-07060-9


This is the third of a loosely connected sequence of books, the other two being Kissing the Beehive and The Marriage of Sticks. Frannie McCabe, erstwhile sheriff of Crane's View, is suddenly greeted by his 17-year-old self, as well as experiencing visions from the last day of his life. This catapults him into a plot contrived by aliens, with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance. Can he make sense of his own life in time to affect the outcome and, at the same time, find peace within himself?

Carroll's gentle fantasies have a special appeal to those who can see the wonderful in the mundane and the magical in the ordinary, and he is as much revered by his peers as his critics. He has that lovely quality of being able to present the most outrageous of science fantasy plot devices, while keeping the whole gloriously rooted in the everyday world. His characters are convincingly real, even as they face the extraordinary, and his tales are shot through with a natural humour and an appreciation of the gift of life. Highly recommended.

Tony Chester

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