cover image The Crow’s Dinner

The Crow’s Dinner

Jonathan Carroll. Subterranean, $40 (584p) ISBN 978-1-59606-827-8

This weighty compendium from novelist Carroll (Bathing the Lion) collects an eccentric and fascinating assortment of observations, musings, anecdotes, and snatches of story from his internet postings and website. All very short—most no more than a page—each selection offers a polished and precise observation of a person, impression, or idea. Some selections lift into striking metaphor, and some seem merely exercises for Carroll’s endlessly curious mind. While initial pieces brim with wonder and joy, later ones are dry and acidic, and the last third of the book takes a turn toward the bitter, dark, or simply sad. Leitmotifs of lost loves, the passage of time, and the work of memory intertwine with celebrity stories, bizarre incidents, and quite a few accounts of simply observing people on the street or in cafés in Vienna, where Carroll lives. Though lacking the complexity and thematic unity of Carroll’s novels, this collation of efficient prose bears witness to the novelist’s attentive eye and ability to illuminate the mundane. His work suggests that the small moments are where we are most alive in the world and where we can learn to make momentary sense of it. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Aug.)