Jonathan Carroll

Via Bookslut I found this interesting interview with Jonathan Carroll. Is an enthusiastic fan of Carroll’s work and he asks some interesting questions. He had this to say about Carroll’s work:

Jonathan Carroll does not shy away from giving us the hard choices, the hard stories. His tales are not candy-coated, sugary, feel-good-about-yourself quest fantasies. Jonathan Carroll is writing about life, writing about the Big Questions and the things that matter… the things that make us human. That is what the fantastic can do.

I don’t know, sounds suspiciously like humanism to me! (That was a joke, BTW)

Given recent discussions about low versus high art or genre versus literature, here is an interesting exchange:

gc: A trend in current fantasy is to root the fantastic firmly in the realistic; sword fights with guts and crunching bones, magic with alchemical formulae underpinning it, genetically-enhanced ‘creatures’ and the like. Do you think that adhering to the rules of realism robs fantasy of its power? Should the fantastic be bound by rules of any kind?
JC: Someone who works for McDonald’s in Austria told me an interesting thing– they said part of Mc’s great success overseas from the beginning was many people, especially Americans abroad, go there only because it is safe and predictable, not because it is particularly good. You know what you’re getting when you walk in the door and it’s never, ever more or less. The same is true with fantasy full of swords, dragons and people with ridiculous multisyllabic names. It is a meal at McDonald’s. For some people, obviously a lot of people, that is exactly what they want– a Happy Meal made of paper. These books sell in the tens of millions but it doesn’t make them good, only fast food for the brain.

Anyways, read the whole things as they say.

If you want my take on a couple of Carroll’s books, my review of White Apples is here and The Wooden Sea is here.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).