cover image Sleeping in Flames

Sleeping in Flames

Jonathan Carroll. Doubleday Books, $17.95 (273pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24957-7

In this farfetched story of reincarnation among the beautiful people, actor Walker Easterling, living in Vienna with sculptor/ex-model Maris York, stumbles upon traces of his previous lives. In Los Angeles to make a horror flick, Westerling undergoes a Castaneda-like training with Venasque, a shaman. He discovers that in one former lifetime he was the son of a cruel, overpossessive German midget with magical powers who pushed him out a window to his death. When Maris conceives, Walker, who was raised as an orphan in Atlanta, must resolve the conflicts of his past lives, or lose his fiancee and their unborn child. Dreams, prophetic visions and the sighting of a purple sea serpent propel his quest, in which the Rumpelstiltskin tale of the Brothers Grimm figures prominently. In what begins as a highly literate parapsychological puzzler, Carroll ( Bones of the Moon ) shifts gears into fantasy and fairy tale, with results that may not be wholly satisfactory to fans of any one genre. (Mar.)