Reviews & Overviews by Rod Cameron

The Land of Laughs Jonathan Carroll

Jonathan Carroll was born in America, but has lived most of his adult life in Vienna. He has written over a dozen prize-winning books which have been translated into 17 languages. I first discovered The Land of Laughs a long time ago. It was one of my all-time favourite books. Not having read it recently, I decided to re-read it, and yes it is still on my favourites list.

Set in modern-day America, it concerns a teacher Thomas Abbey and his girlfriend Saxony. They decide to write the biography of their favourite author, the reclusive Marshall France who wrote fabulous children’s books, before he died at the age of 44. When they travel to Marshall’s home they discover the writer’s fiercely protective daughter Anna, and the strange small town of Galen where the inhabitants resemble characters in the author’s magical fantasy books, and the magic has extended far beyond the pages of those books…

This is a very subtle horror story. The first half of the book is very ordinary, almost mundane. There is a risk that the reader may say “This is boring. What is the point?”, and consider stopping. But please persist. There are some clues along the way. A number of sentences which can be interpreted in different ways. The climax when it comes is stunning in its originality.

To say that Jonathan Carroll writes fantasy horror novels would be to do him a disservice by creating the wrong impression. Rather he writes dark, surreal, strange tales. His website is at and is well worth investigating.

Publisher: Gollancz
1st Published: 1980
Pages: 256 Pages
Price: £6.99
Format: Trade Paperback
Reviewed by: Rod Cameron
Date Reviewed: May 2006

Copyright : Roderick Alasdair Cameron 2001 - 2012         

Copyright : Roderick Alasdair Cameron 2001 - 2015         

Copyright : Roderick Alasdair Cameron 2001 - 2015