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Bathing the Lion: Book summary and reviews of Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

Bathing the Lion

by Jonathan Carroll

Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll X
Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll
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About this book

Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Flawed characters struggle with identity and love, selfishness and fear, in a world where wonder can always be found in the mundane. This lyrical and thematically rich novel is not to be underestimated." - Publishers Weekly

"Philip K. Dick meets Kurt Vonnegut with startlingly well-drawn characters, and the overall effect is one of the poignancy of day-to-day existence contrasting with the galactic scale of 'life, the universe and everything.' Readers with flexible expectations for fiction will find this a hoot. Recommended to those for whom the meaning of life can be "42." - Library Journal

Sudden leaps through time and perspective leave the story feeling strangely cobbled together and detract from the larger emotional themes usually found in Carroll's work. Nevertheless, Carroll is known for his magical fiction, and his newest novel is sure to please fans who have been missing him since his last novel, The Ghost in Love (2008). - Booklist

"Though short, the novel is not a breezy read; it's a quiet, character-driven musing on the value of life and death that lovers of magical realism should embrace but that readers wishing for a more cohesive story will find frustrating." - Kirkus

"Bathing the Lion is a departure for Jonathan Carroll: a work of surrealist world-building, which reminded me at times of both Philip K Dick and of Julio Cortazar. Carroll unpeels what it means to be human, and why something would pretend to be human in a book that is as exciting as it is thoughtful." - Neil Gaiman

This information about Bathing the Lion was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jonathan Carroll

Jonathan Carroll is the author of eighteen novels including The Land of Love, Wooden Sea, White Apples, and The Ghost in Love among others. He graduated cum laude from Rutgers University and studied for his Masters Degree at the University of Virginia while working as an English teacher. His love of teaching took him to the American International School in Vienna, Austria. Carroll currently writes and lives in Vienna.

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