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The Marriage of Sticks [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Carroll
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

After a high school reunion, a woman loses her grip on reality

Miranda marches into her high school reunion with the confidence of a professional at the top of her field. But inside she is lost, disenchanted with her career, and as alone as a person can possibly be. As a teenager in Crane’s View, she fell in love with unrepentant bad boy James Stillman, and though they never slept together, he thrilled her as no man has since. She returns to her hometown hoping to reconnect with him, but learns at the reunion that he was killed in a car crash years ago.
In the weeks that follow, Miranda is haunted by visions of the past. First she sees James, alive and healthy, and more chilling hallucinations follow. Seeking distraction, she dives into an ill-advised love affair that turns darker than she could ever imagine. To find peace, Miranda must learn to walk the razor-thin line that separates this world from the one that follows.
This ebook contains an all-new introduction by Jonathan Carroll, as well as an exclusive illustrated biography of the author including rare images from his personal collection.

Editorial Reviews Review

Jonathan Carroll is a writer other writers envy. He's been described as a "cult favorite" whose works go out of print too quickly in the USA, despite his popularity in Europe and the admiration of reviewers. It may be because Carroll uses fantastic elements, but doesn't write genre fantasy; his books are often haunting, even frightening, but they're not horror novels. He puzzles you, surprises you, and always makes you think about how what he's saying might apply to your life.

In The Marriage of Sticks, Miranda Romanac is a thirtysomething dealer in rarities who loves her work and lifestyle, but feels unfulfilled. As her friend Zoe says,

you don't expect anything better to happen because you've lived too long and seen too much to have any more hope. I'm luckier than you. I don't think life's very friendly either, but I know we can control hope. You can turn it on and off like a spigot. I try to keep mine on full blast.

Miranda struggles to change her life after upsetting revelations at a high school reunion. She has an affair with a married man who leaves his wife and children for her. She lives with ghosts of her past and future, with what might have been and could be. She's forced to face the consequences of her actions and the effect she has on others' lives by being who she is. Finally, she learns "to live without everything" and be content. --Nona Vero

From Publishers Weekly

In the first half of Carroll's new fantasy (after Bones of the Moon), there is little to prepare readers for the surrealism of the second half. Over one hundred pages of aged protagonist Miranda Romanac's memoirs of quotidian high school and yuppie romance drag by. Although there are wonderful insights and poetic phrases, the whole is drowned in eldersprache: actual scenes are far outweighed by a distancing voice heavy with reflection. Then, in the midst of Miranda's passionate adulterous affair with a New York art dealer, very strange things start to happen. Miranda's lover suddenly dies. Apparitions haunt and bloody her in the house given to her by Frances Hatch, a former mistress of Kazantzakis and Giacometti. Alternate worlds open before her, and Frances helps Miranda navigate: they have an ancient connection, it turns out. The writing abruptly shifts in the second half, becoming poetic and magical, dense with a wonderful strangeness reminiscent of Fellini and urgent with inklings of horrors around the corner. Miranda must discover the awful truth of what she is, while weird ancients watch and guide. Carroll often startles with the deftness of his insights, both personal and metaphysical, and there are many lines that, for their poetry, one wants to cut out and frame. But this book is alarmingly full of shoehorns and ad hoc explanations. It feels as if Carroll drafted part one at a gallop, then crafted part two as an improvisation, reincorporating and reinterpreting the opening material as fantastic: too many rabbits from too many hats. But for all the overweening cleverness, beauty and wisdom reside here. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1126 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (July 31, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,533 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every segment has some little surprise and delight! September 29, 1999
By A Customer
Im so totally awestruck and in love that I HAD to run right in here and talk to you about it! I have never been so impressed with a writer. He doesn't do any fancy dancing--no literary gimmicks...but man oh man, this Carroll can WRITE!
His newest book Marriage of the Sticks starts off in a very ordinary way--a high school reunion. So ordinary that I thought, uh oh...I'm going to be disappointed. But then he slowly starts introducing characters that I would LOVE to know! I really really want to sit down and talk to them.
Every darn time he taps into something so odd yet familiar, something really appealing. I just don't know how he's doing this, but he writes about such interesting things and thoughts. And I've just read a couple of paragraphs that are worth the price of the book and the shipping from England! (it will be out here in september I think) Where does he GET these ideas???? I'm not saying what it is because it's too savory. You should come across it and discover it for yourself if you read this book. Now of course, one of the notions imbued in the reading of Carroll is a tension-ANYTHING could happen. So every knock on a door makes you wonder who might reappear; every dog that enters a room makes you ask...could this be Vanasque or someone I'll love?
Every segment has some little surprise and delight. The main character in this one is a woman (<G>) and she deals in rare books and other precious objects. The incidental characters (at least I think they are) are intriguing and yet unexplained in full. But they have flesh even though they only pass through a scene or two. The ideas....the things he talks about . . . it's like taking a mental bubble bath; I just want to soak and roll in sheer delight.
Can one fall in love just by reading a man's words, even though they're intended for millions? I feel so foolish, but this guy amazes me! Again!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another brilliant Carroll novel May 18, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For over 10 years I have read and enjoyed Carroll's novels. Every one gives you the same sensation: things start out seemingly normal until little by little odd things start to happen. In this sense, he reminds me of Rachel Ingalls, another one of my favorite but obscure writers. Because the odd things creep up slowly, everything seems plausible until you end up in a mind-blowing fantasy world and wonder how the heck you got there! Elevators open up into other epochs, animals talk and people look strangely familiar even though you have never met them before. I have never read a Carroll novel in more than 1 sitting: once you start, you are completely hooked until the end. I can't understand why he's not one of the most famous writers in the USA -- he's very popular in Europe (lives in Vienna), but here you can barely find his books -- all his classics except a few recent ones are out of print. Do yourself a favor and read his latest one, The Marriage of Sticks, as an introduction -- it's excellent, although others are better. I love Bones of the Moon and Voices of our Shadow the most. He inspires all sorts of subversive thoughts -- in my case, Carroll makes me wish I'd stolen the public library copies I found of all his old books. Seek out all his books and let's bring Carroll back to mainstream America. He'll change how you think.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars frankly a big disappointment September 26, 1999
By A Customer
Jonathan Carroll has written some of my favorite novels ever. LAND OF LAUGHS, BONES OF THE MOON, SLEEPING IN FLAME, and OUTSIDE THE DOG MUSEUM are all wonderful, insightful, brilliant. And as much as I wanted to like THE MARRIAGE OF STICKS, I just couldn't. It begins well and tugs you right in, but then about halfway through, it just sort of gives up the ghost (pun intended). From there on to the end, it's a sort of mishmash of trippy visionsquests, with an ending that is neither satisfying--as far as I was concerned--nor actually all that coherent. The characters are not particularly likeable; I never got the sense that they were real people. They came across, rather, as stock players with cool attributes, great one-liners, and the right clothes. And the sorts of little satoris that always happen to characters in Carroll novels, which in his best books really DO make you the reader gasp at the insight, are not, I'm sorry to say, particularly meaningful in this case. They are trite, or cute, or both. Often, in recent Carroll novels, this particular trait of his--like casually mentioned rock bands you never heard of, or Austrian street names--seems forced, as if he knows the readers expect it and doesn't want to let them down. But it doesn't work. If you want something great by Carroll, I recommend one of the early titles. But I can't recommend this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved every minute of it August 26, 1999
By A Customer
Every time Jonathan Carroll publishes a book I put my world on hold and happily go live in the new one he has created. The nicest thing about his books is I always get the feeling they are talking directly to me and not anyone else. The main character in THE MARRIAGE OF STICKS is a woman in her early thirties who is sort of stuck in her life and doesn't know which way to turn. Me too. But reading Carroll and seeing what he has to say about the subject helped in many ways for me to see my own problems more clearly and maybe even find a way through them. This has happened with every single book of his I have ever read and that is the main reason why I will go on reading Jonathan Carroll. As one of the blurbs say, his work is addictive.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars ** WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS **
** WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS ** because I honestly don’t know how to talk about it without them.

This book is a contemporary surrealist fantasy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jesi Lea Ryan
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I enjoyed this story, but not nearly as much as I did the other two Crane's view books. The story is less interesting, less cohesive and believable.
Published 12 months ago by JGE
3.0 out of 5 stars The Marriage of Sticks
I only gave it three stars because of the way it was written. I got confused a few times as the story changed all of a sudden. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bonnie Ballo
4.0 out of 5 stars The Marriage of Sticks
Author: Jonathan Carroll
Published By: Open Road
Age Recommended: Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 4

Review:... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Arlena
1.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre
I wanted to like this book. The reviews were mostly very good and it sounded like a very intriguing read....intriguing is not the word for it. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Deborah Wohlleben
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant Surprise
This was a very original creative story. I purchased it because it was only $2.99. I am waiting for the second book in the trilogy to go on sale.
Published 16 months ago by AMG
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and fantastical ...
The Marriage of Sticks slides along the slipstream, as most of his works to. His writing is filled with magical imagery and moments when you can't quite figure out what's going... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Caitlin Martin
2.0 out of 5 stars The Marriage of Sticks
I didn't care for the book because a good majority of it was back and forth between present day and past and was confusing. Read more
Published 17 months ago by C. Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars Jarring plot twist mars otherwise splendid novel
Jonathan Carroll's novel of love and loss and memory and life is wonderfully told for the first 200 pages, with his trademark strangeness tiptoeing in bit by bit by bit. Read more
Published on July 3, 2011 by avanta7
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful novel that will make you think
Nobody disputes Jonathan Carroll's writing ability. He has a wonderful style and paints word portraits deftly. Read more
Published on January 13, 2009 by audrey
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