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The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Carroll
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nominated for a 2012 Bram Stoker Award and a 2013 British Fantasy Award: Thirty-eight extraordinary stories from award-winning author Jonathan Carroll

For more than thirty years, Jonathan Carroll’s writing has defied genre conventions. Known for his novels—including The Land of Laughs, Bones of the Moon, Sleeping in Flame, and many other compelling and often surreal stories—Carroll has also created an eloquent body of short fiction. The Woman Who Married a Cloud brings his stories together for the first time. In the title story, a matchmaking effort goes awry and leads one woman to a harrowing moment of self-discovery. In “The Heidelberg Cylinder,” Hell becomes so overcrowded that Satan sends some of his lost souls back to Earth. And in “Alone Alarm,” a man is kidnapped by multiple versions of himself. By turns haunting, melancholic, and enchanting, Carroll’s richly layered stories illuminate universal experiences, passions, and griefs. Described by NPR’s Alan Cheuse as “so richly imaginative, so intellectually daring,” The Woman Who Married a Cloud is essential reading for Carroll fans and short-story lovers alike. 
This ebook contains an exclusive illustrated biography of the author including rare images from his personal collection.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Woman Who Married a Cloud
“Carroll’s stories are so richly imaginative, so intellectually daring, you don’t dare read the book end-to-end, so take it slow, a few stories at a time so you can savor them.” —Alan Cheuse, NPR
“Hopefully this new collection of short fiction will shine the spotlight on this incredible writer who deserves superstar status.?The Woman Who Married a Cloud is dense with thoughtful, haunting tales.” —San Francisco Book Review
“Readers discovering Carroll for the first time are the literary equivalent of treasure seekers finding a buried chest full of gold, explorers putting their feet to a new continent. . . . These are stories of considerable beauty and grace, even when they hold up the uglier aspects of humanity to closer view. Such things as infidelity, relationship breakdown, terminal disease and other loss are explored, and unimagined deeper truths revealed. In all his fiction, Carroll is a seeker, and a speaker of truths, attempting to find, rather than make, meaning from the randomness in which we live.” —Edmonton Journal
“There are dogs and children and lost lovers populating these tales, to be sure, and there are fair doses of grief and sentiment in some of them, but mostly there are the lineaments of a vision so distinctive, and so morally grounded, that it hardly bears comparison with anything else in modern fiction at all.” —Locus
Praise for the Work of Jonathan Carroll
“[Carroll is] one of the special ones, one of the few . . . He opens a window you did not know was there and invites you to look through it. He gives you his eyes to see with, and he gives you the world all fresh and honest and new. . . . He has the magic.” —Neil Gaiman
“I love Jonathan Carroll’s books. They are surprising and delightful as Rottweiler puppies—and they bite too.” —Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife
“Sexy, eery and addictive.” —The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

Jonathan Carroll (b. 1949) is an award-winning American author of modern fantasy and slipstream novels. His debut book, The Land of Laughs (1980), tells the story of a children’s author whose imagination has left the printed page and begun to influence reality. The book introduced several hallmarks of Carroll’s writing, including talking animals and worlds that straddle the thin line between reality and the surreal, a technique that has seen him compared to South American magical realists.
Outside the Dog Museum (1991) was named the best novel of the year by the British Fantasy Society, and has proven to be one of Carroll’s most popular works. Since then he has written the Crane’s View trilogy, Glass Soup (2005) and, most recently, The Ghost in Love (2008). His short stories have been collected in The Panic Hand (1995) and The Woman Who Married a Cloud (2012). He lives and writes in Vienna. 

Product Details

  • File Size: 1450 KB
  • Print Length: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy; Deluxe Hardcover Edition edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A39GHPK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,289 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review in LOCUS MAGAZINE July 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Like Graham Joyce, Jonathan Carroll is a writer who, by common knowledge, ``defies classification,'' which by now has become a sort of classification all by itself; why else would we keep inventing terms for it? But it's not as though readers didn't make heroic earlier efforts to find easier labels for both Joyce and Carroll, mostly as horror writers.
Joyce's earlier novels like Dreamside and The Tooth Fairy sometimes were reviewed as horror, and in Carroll's case The Land of Laughs made it onto Stephen Jones and Kim Newman's ``best 100 horror books'' list, while his story collection The Panic Hand won a Stoker. Both writers have won World Fantasy Awards, which with its broad remit seems a bit closer to the mark, but the main point is that neither writer seems to start out with any particular notion of genre in mind at all, but rather with a singular angle of vision. For the last few years, Carroll has been a regular contributor to Bradford Morrow's journal Conjunctions, which seems a reasonable home - neither a genre venue nor one which turns its nose up at genre material. In ``Nothing to Declare'', one of the more recent tales in Carroll's generous career-overview collection The Woman Who Married a Cloud, a waitress begins a tentative romance with a customer by noting, ``It happens so rarely that you meet someone who perceives life from a unique perspective and in sharing it, expands your vision,'' and that, ``No matter what they talked about, he almost always came at it from a different angle.'' She might as well be reading the book she's in.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-Rate Fantasy September 13, 2012
Despite constantly appearing on the World Fantasy Awards rolls, it's unfortunate that Jonathan Carroll lacks the instant name recall of some of his contemporaries. Hopefully this new collection of short fiction will shine the spotlight on this incredible writer who deserves superstar status.

"The Woman Who Married a Cloud" is dense with thoughtful, haunting tales. Most of the characters are painfully flawed normal people who are thrown into extraordinary situations. There's always a sense of impending doom, but Carroll handles his moments so well that the reader never sees the final crash. It's only felt after the book has been put away for the day.

I enjoyed "Friend's Best Man" and "The Second Snow," which both feature a dog lover's worst nightmares; "The Sadness of Detail" which deals with the growing incompetence of God; and "The Fall Collection," "Nothing to Declare," and the title story, which contemplates superficiality and the pursuit of love.

These slightly melancholic stories are meant to be savored. A reader must go slowly in order to examine the emotional weight and philosophical questions of each tale. Reminiscent of classic "Twilight Zone" episodes, this is first-rate fantasy which lingers long after its been read.

(This piece first appeared in the San Francisco Book Review.)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to start thinking... December 23, 2013
By Corinne
Format:Kindle Edition
I became interested in Jonathan Carroll from his social media postings. (Please check it out if you haven't. He's great.) I started reading this collection, and was floored. His writing is uncomfortable, thought-provoking, and often shocking. It takes the every day and pitches it into a different angle...normal enough to make you sink into it, then slowly, you realize you're in the 'uncanny valley'. He takes the everyday and adds a discordant note to make your hair stand on end. In 'Friend's Best Man', he turns the dog-owner relationship on its ear. In 'The Sadness of Detail', you wonder who is pulling the strings. He explores anthropomorphism, the occult, God, and human failings in his stories. I kept feeling as though he had a flashlight in my inner works and spit them on a page, as well. He is incredibly insightful and brutally honest about our inner voices. If you want easy brain candy, this might not be it. If you want to be provoked, disturbed, explosed, enlightened, and often amused, this is for you. His stories are razor-wit and horror, and won't leave you disappointed. Highly recommended!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sadness of Detail September 1, 2012
I read my first Jonathan Carroll novel shortly after discovering Graham Joyce. I'd read everything Joyce had written up to that point and was desperate for more. The top recommendation I kept hearing at that time was Jonathan Carroll, probably because there's a certain similarity between the two writers: they both write fiction set in our contemporary reality with relatively small added fantasy elements. You can call this magical realism, but Joyce disagrees with this classification--he prefers the wonderful term "Old Peculiar" to describe his fiction--and I'm not sure if Jonathan Carroll is completely happy with it either. Still, it does seem to fit the bill somewhat and provides a good point of reference for people who are unfamiliar with them.

While there may be touching points with magical realism in both authors' works, there are also considerable differences between them in terms of style and tone, so it's a bit of an oversimplification to constantly call out their names in the same breath. Still, I think that many people who enjoy one of these excellent authors' works will also enjoy the other one.

All of this serves to say that, if you've just read Graham Joyce's wonderful new novel Some Kind of Fairy Tale (read my review here) and, like me, you're now somewhat grouchy about having to wait a year or more for his next one, here's the perfect opportunity to discover Jonathan Carroll's works: the new, huge, career-spanning short story collection The Woman Who Married a Cloud, out on July 31st from Subterranean Press.

Jonathan Carroll is best known for his novels, but has also produced an impressive body of short fiction over the years.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every story!
What an amazing imagination! Each story
dazzles the mind. I found myself laughing at some conclusions, and suddenly afraid, very afraid of others. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Terry Licia
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Really wasn't into it.
Published 2 months ago by Jamie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you love Jonathan Carroll, you will REALLY love this.
Published 3 months ago by Kate
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend it if you like something different and something that...
I almost gave this book 5 stars. Not sure why I didn't. It is a very quirky book but if you read the stories carefully - and slowly as is suggested - they will give you MUCH to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JWW
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful stories and memorable lines.
Published 4 months ago by Michael Pollock
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent work, as always
always a surprise. sometimes in a mean way. you never cease to thrill me, mr. carroll. thank you for that.
Published 5 months ago by gerinaround
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastical whimsy
These short stories take your mind on unexpected and obtuse journeys that give you the sense you're either high, or touching new disparate parts of your brain. Read more
Published 5 months ago by bookbrunch
5.0 out of 5 stars Rod Serling lives!
Jonathan Carroll writes amazingly well. He begins most stories with ordinary hooks, and you think you can anticipate what they will be about... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Really strange
But I read all of it. It was interesting. There were lots of paranormal types of experiences. Some I didn't like much, but felt compelled to read all the stories.
Published 6 months ago by Maureen Clarke
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
I bought this book because of the glowing reviews it had. Maybe I expected too much from this author. In any case I was seriously disappointed. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Elise
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Biography,free downloadable stories, screenplays, daily blog and other relevant information available at

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