Thursday, April 30, 2015

REVIEW: The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll Ghost in Love
by Jonathan Carroll
Adult Fiction
3/5 stars

Carroll does some very interesting and clever things with the ideas of ghosts and the afterlife, which, along with some great characters and a few moments of pure emotion, really is what I was hoping to get from this book, and I did. It was an interesting and thought-provoking journey, though I wouldn't say I agreed with the ideas put forth.

The convoluted story had me guessing and turning pages. I liked the feel of this story -its world and its style- and with good plot and compelling characters, I can't complain. 

Carroll meshed so many ideas into his version of afterlife, life after death, and so on. There are ghosts, reincarnated beings, angels, all sorts of details pulled from all kinds of theology and ideas, plus several that Carroll made up himself. How he played with reality is probably what I enjoyed most with this story. We got to see a lot more about this world by being able to experience it through a variety of characters, including a ghost, the Angel of Death, and a dog, who all see different versions or facets of the same reality. It's fascinating.

The writing style captivated me, pumped with emotion, and gently guiding me through the tale. Carroll makes me feel for these characters; better, he lets me feel through them. I see what they see, think what they think, feel what they feel. Any secrets kept from the reader pertain to the plot, not the characters, and I liked that. The book jumps around from scene to scene, character to character, feeding us relevant bits of the story, instead of staying with a specific character or even chronology. I really love this type of narration. It feels adventurous, daring, untamed.


There were a few things I didn't like about this story: Several references to lesbianism, a few intimate and/or explicit details, and the underlying theme that -slight spoilers- man is outgrowing God. Or, more specifically, that mankind is evolving out of its need for God. I don't know if it was meant to be agnostic, atheistic, a moral or social commentary, or just a storytelling tool. That underlying theme made the story possible and interesting, so for the book it's thought-provoking, but I can't say I took any great meaning from this. For me, it was just an entertaining read.

There are no plot threads left untied. The overall story could be considered open-ended, but there was enough closure provided for a satisfactory ending.

Overall an entertaining and intriguing read, but I'd definitely consider The Ghost in Love a mature or PG-13 rating. Despite the bits I didn't like, the style, the writing, and the story were all so captivating that I'd still give Carroll's novels another try.

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