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Bathing the Lion: A Novel por Jonathan…
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Bathing the Lion: A Novel (edición 2014)

por Jonathan Carroll (Autor)

MiembrosReseñasPopularidadValoración promediaMenciones
15310136,979 (3.62)10
"In Jonathan Carroll's surreal masterpiece, Bathing the Lion, five people who live in the same New England town go to sleep one night and all share the same hyper-realistic dream. Some of these people know each other; some don't. When they wake the next day all of them know what has happened. All five were at one time "mechanics," a kind of cosmic repairman whose job is to keep order in the universe and clean up the messes made both by sentient beings and the utterly fearsome yet inevitable Chaos that periodically rolls through, wreaking mayhem wherever it touches down--a kind of infinitely powerful, merciless tornado. Because the job of a mechanic is grueling and exhausting, after a certain period all of them are retired and sent to different parts of the cosmos to live out their days as "civilians." Their memories are wiped clean and new identities are created for them that fit the places they go to live out their natural lives to the end. For the first time all retired mechanics are being brought back to duty: Chaos has a new plan, and it's not looking good for mankind.."--… (más)
Miembro:bostonwendym
Título:Bathing the Lion: A Novel
Autores:Jonathan Carroll (Autor)
Info:St. Martin's Press (2014), Edition: First, 288 pages
Colecciones:Read
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Etiquetas:Ninguno

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Bathing the Lion por Jonathan Carroll

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» Ver también 10 menciones

Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
I just couldn't put this one down for any reason. Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll is another gem from this not-well-enough-known author. It is science fiction turned on its head, a thoughtful musing on what our value is as human beings. I don't want to get too into the plot because the unfolding is beautiful so I'll just say that it starts with one set of truths and then turns those on their heads and applies an entirely different set of rules and facts.

The blurb on the back from Neil Gaiman says "[BTL] is a departure for Jonathan Carroll" but I humbly beg to differ. The three Carroll books I have now read have one thing in common -- they allow readers a complete escape whilst simultaneously exploring the deepest truths of humanity and relationships.

http://webereading.com/2017/12/bathing-lion.html ( )
  klpm | Dec 31, 2017 |
review to come ( )
  JordanAshleyPerkins | Jan 26, 2017 |
[Note: I was trying to write this review on the crappy Goodreads app earlier and, of course, lost the entire thing because it crashed in the middle. Now I'm mad at this book and annoyed at Goodreads, so the review below is probably a bit more vitriolic than my usual fare. Sorry.]

What is there to say about this book other it just wasn't for me?

Plenty. In fact, I could prattle all day long on the things I didn't like about this book, and I still wouldn't touch the tip of the iceberg of my issues.

But let's pretend I can sum my problems up in a neat little review, just for the heck of it.

Now, I've read reviews about this book that say the author is a little "odd" and that maybe this story isn't the best place to start with his work. But, in my opinion, if a story isn't a sequel or something very close to one, then it should be fairly accessible without me having to read the author's entire repertoire first. This book was one of the least accessible titles I have ever had the misfortune to read--and that has completely turned me off ever reading any of this author's work again.

(Don't tell me I shouldn't start here with this author's books--tell me why I should have to start somewhere else in order to "get" a stand-alone? It is not, in my opinion, acceptable to tell me that a stand-alone isn't really a stand-alone because it's practically incoherent unless I'm intimately familiar with the author in question. That's absurd.)

Point is, I read this. I started here. It was an ARC. I didn't like it. Here's why:

Let's start with the plot. That is, what plot? Certainly not the plot implied by the synopsis for this book. Because that plot sounded like an exciting slipstream adventure story, whereas the actual book was....not even remotely close to that. The first third of the story is drawn-out dream sequence that is initially framed to look like real life. The most mundane real life possible. For a second, I thought I'd gotten the wrong book, and that the wrong book I'd gotten was a boring contemporary drama about domestic and community relationship issues.

Nope. That's just the actual beginning of this book. Which slowly spirals into a surreal dream sequence filled with nonsensical symbolism, riddles that are never explained, what-could-have-been-awesome sci-fi concepts that are never explored past shallow mentions, and, worst of all, a continual focus on the characters' boring lives.

The second part of the book, unfortunately, doesn't get much better. In fact, in many ways, it's worse. Because once the story starts explaining what's actually going on with the plot, it walks right over the cliff into a huge disappointment. All the interesting concepts that could have made for an exciting adventure are glossed over for conversations in living rooms, conversations in diners, more conversations in living rooms, the SAME conversation in a diner AGAIN...and, to make matters worse, a bunch of seemingly random occurrences are always happening in every scene, but they have no rhyme or reason and are never explored to any satisfactory extent.

The entire plot of this book basically boils down to a bunch of people arguing and occasionally reminding themselves that the world might be ending. In the background. While they argue. Throwing in some applied phlebotinum where it's convenient to in order to make "neat" things happen so the story doesn't come to a complete stand still does not constitute an actual plot.

Overall, this story was a confusing mess of boring characters, largely unexplained science fiction concepts that are tossed in at random, and a combination of bad story structuring and awful pacing.

But surely the characters weren't that bad?

If only. A hundred pages into this book, I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters. They were practically flat and mostly corralled into nice, neat stereotypes for what appeared to be the sake of convenience. Instead of actually showing us the characters' personalities through choices and action, as one would expect, this book spends an inordinate amount of time telling backstory through inane anecdotes as an "alternative" to actual character development. Which drove me nuts. The constant stops and stars of the plot only served to slow it down more, and the backstory tidbits did nothing for me in the context of the current story--they also did nothing to connect me to the characters.

All the characters in this book might as well have been cardboard for all the depth they had...except the talking chair. I did like the talking chair.

Finally, let's talk about the style this story was written.

There's no other way for me to put it: I hated the writing style of this book.

I've never actually hated a writing style before. I've thought some were odd, off, or not particularly great. But I have never downright hated a writing style.

Until now.

The narration reads like a children's picture book combined with the vocabulary of a PhD recipient. It is the most awkward, contradictory style I have ever seen--and it drove me crazy on every page. Mix that in with the absurd and ever-stilted dialogue from the super-flat characters, and this book was a nightmare to read.

Start to finish, I could not stand Bathing the Lion. But I do give it a few points for the underlying premise and the imaginative concepts always in the background (but, unfortunately, never brought to light).

_____

Rating

2/5

_____

... Disclosure

I received a free copy of this title form the publisher via Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  ClaraCoulson | Nov 16, 2015 |
I love Jonathan Carroll books. I was given this one for Christmas but kept it on my bedside table, savoring the anticipation of reading it until mid-January. I had to – because once I open the cover and enter a world full of incredible things that shouldn’t happen but do, seemingly ordinary people who have extraordinary things happening to them and worlds within worlds that seem impossible to imagine but even more impossible to forget…I just can’t stop until I finish. And I hate finishing a Jonathan Carroll book.

In “Bathing the Lion” he again creates a cast of characters that are instantly recognizable but completely unlike anyone we know in our daily lives. These characters are so human, such wonderful examples of the flaws, fragility, overpowering strength and incredible love people are cursed and blessed with. “Bathing the Lion” celebrates that which makes each person unique and alongside of that, both celebrates and raises an eyebrow at what life throws at people.

“There’s always a “but” in any triumph. The nasty little bone in the delicious piece of fish, the dangerous slick spot on the just-waxed gleaming floor, the “no” hiding under “yes’s” bed, waiting for the right moment to spring out and bite you.”
Carroll has a way of describing life in ways that make the reader (me) want to shout, “That’s exactly it!” With prose that is neither flowery nor sparse – he unspools thoughts and feelings in a way that feels like he’s reached into our minds and just clarified what we all feel.

“We’re often wrong at predicting who or what will transform us. Encountering certain people, books, music, places or ideas…at just the right time can immediately make our lives happier, richer, more beautiful, resonant or meaningful. When it happens, we feel a kind of instant love for them, both deep and abiding. Now and then it can be something as trifling as a children’s book, a returned telephone call, or a night at a seaside bar in Mykonos.”

“…smells are unlike any other memories. They remain with us fully a hundred percent on some remote desert island of the mind where they keep the lowest profile. If they’re not shaken awake by something, they lie silent and still like sleeping dogs under the table. But once roused, they return as completely as the moment we first encountered them.”

And in a passage that truly feels as if he crawled inside my own head - “Lists made life make more sense to him. He’d tried to find his Vedran by listing the objects in his apartment. When he saw things written down on paper in tidy columns it gave him the feeling that it was possible to tame some of life’s chaos, which was much better than just letting it buzz crazily around you like house flies.” I love lists – but never could I have explained myself in such a perfect way.

“Bathing the Lion” is a story of humans and more than humans. Men and woman who have led otherworldly lives – yet are defined by and find the most fulfillment in their experiences on Earth. They experience what it is like to be human – sometimes with the knowledge of what is beyond humanity – and of what experiences are utterly and amazingly human. Most specifically, love. Love of life. Of other living things. Love of another person so powerful that the gain of it can utterly transform one, and that the loss of it can utterly destroy one.

“Lola was unaware of it but this was her one great, genuine talent in life – loving people. The image of her man with the Italian book in his meaty hands looking so damned serious made her smile when they lay in bed at night holding hands, knowing “forever” was no longer a word either of them owned in any language. In Lola’s increasing dependence on him, Bill learned how to be generous, thoughtful and fully present in the limited days they had together. Perhaps that was the greatest achievement of her life: without trying, she taught her husband to be a much better person.”

I love Jonathan Carroll books. I love that reading them is a delightful, magical, heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring experience that leaves me with a greater appreciation for who we are, what we can be and for what absolutely, positively could never happen but sometimes does. ( )
  karieh | Feb 8, 2015 |
Five people share a dream and eventually discover, using the clues they recognize in the dream, and regaining lost memory in the process, that they all shared a common past in a world elsewhere in the universe. There are a lot of twists and turns, and layers that Carroll takes us through, with a rising sense of urgency, to get to the climax—the discovery of just WTF is going on. The initial premise is interesting, and there were some intriguing (but not new) things said about the unreliability of memory. He imagined moving through memory almost like a time traveler. That said, I read the book with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. If I were to guess where my disatisfaction lay, I might say that, for me,the ideas of the story were not enough to carry the book when the characters were little developed beyond pawns in service to the ideas. The idea has to be cool enough to hold court single-handedly, and for me it didn’t. I kept wondering what some of the surreal ideas in the first half of the book would become in the hands of a different author (surely a bad sign for the reader's mind to be wandering off like that?).

I have read a lot of Jonathan Carroll over the years and have thought him reliably entertaining in his messing with reality through magical realism. But, while reading this book, I considered that I may have outgrown his work, or perhaps “outgrown” is not the right word, maybe I’ve just "moved on." ( )
  avaland | Feb 5, 2015 |
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Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
Carroll, Jonathanautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Carroll, RyderCover conceptautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Murphy, Molly RoseDiseñadorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Serrano, ErvinDiseñador de cubiertaautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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2013 (PolandUS)
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Información del conocimiento común inglés. Edita para encontrar en tu idioma.
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"In Jonathan Carroll's surreal masterpiece, Bathing the Lion, five people who live in the same New England town go to sleep one night and all share the same hyper-realistic dream. Some of these people know each other; some don't. When they wake the next day all of them know what has happened. All five were at one time "mechanics," a kind of cosmic repairman whose job is to keep order in the universe and clean up the messes made both by sentient beings and the utterly fearsome yet inevitable Chaos that periodically rolls through, wreaking mayhem wherever it touches down--a kind of infinitely powerful, merciless tornado. Because the job of a mechanic is grueling and exhausting, after a certain period all of them are retired and sent to different parts of the cosmos to live out their days as "civilians." Their memories are wiped clean and new identities are created for them that fit the places they go to live out their natural lives to the end. For the first time all retired mechanics are being brought back to duty: Chaos has a new plan, and it's not looking good for mankind.."--

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