cover image Bones of the Moon

Bones of the Moon

Jonathan Carroll. Arbor House Publishing, $15.95 (217pp) ISBN 978-0-87795-937-3

Carroll's first novel, The Land of Laughs, is something of a minor classic, but this one, his third, is, ultimately, a failure. A young woman named Cullen, happily married and the mother of an infant daughter, begins having unusually coherent dreams, set in a fabulous land called Rondua. She dreams she is on a quest, accompanied by a young boy whom she comes to realize is the child she aborted several years before. Eventually Cullen and her son are put in confrontation with an evil, protean monster known as Jack Chili. We learn that in some forgotten time Cullen had failed at a previous confrontation, failed morally, abandoning her compatriots to save herself. Shrouded in symbolic imagery, this is a veiled reference to the abortion, as the book increasingly functions, however subtly, as anti-abortion polemic. More of a problem,in the narrative, are sentimentality in lieu of emotion, occasionally cloying preciousness and the general superficiality of characterization. (January 12)