I haven’t read any Jonathan Carroll in some time (archive shows Glass Soup in 2005) but recently learned that he had a book published in 2023 so put it on the TBR list.
Here is the publishers description for Mr. Breakfast:
Graham Patterson’s life has hit a dead end. His career as a comedian is failing. The love of his life recently broke up with him and he literally has no idea what to do next. With nothing to lose, he buys a new car and hits the road, planning to drive across country and hopefully figure out his next moves before reaching California.
But along the way Patterson does something his old self would never have even considered: he gets tattooed by a brilliant tattoo artist in North Carolina. The decision sets off a series of extraordinary events that changes his life forever in ways he never could have imagined. Among other things, Patterson is gifted with the ability to see in real time three different lives that are available to him. The choice is his: The life he is leading right now, or two very different ones. In all of them there is love or fame and of course danger because once he has chosen, there is no telling what will happen next.
Mr. Breakfast is a dazzling, absorbing and deeply moving novel about the choices that we have to confront and face, confirming Jonathan Carroll’s status as one of our greatest and most imaginative storytellers.
I gave this three stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed it and found it pretty quick read but it didn’t wow me. It is interesting to think about how various lives can be intertwined and how our choices shape and change our lives. Cliche in some ways but still profound in practice and in the hands of a skilled storyteller.
I mean, choosing between being single but famous and highly successful or having a family but an otherwise pedestrian life is not as easy a choice as one might think. A unique life or a meaningful one? Or can you have both?