Jonathan Carroll

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Jonathan Carroll (2008)

Jonathan Samuel Carroll (born January 26, 1949 in New York City ) is an American writer . He lives in Vienna .

life and work

Jonathan Carroll was born into a family of artists: his father was the screenwriter Sidney Carroll (whose greatest success was Haie der Großstadt ), his mother an actress, singer and poet. He is a half-brother of the composer Steve Reich . After a youth that he himself experienced as "difficult", he graduated from Loomis School, Connecticut, and graduated from Rutgers University with honors in 1971 . In the same year he married the artist Beverly Schreiner. He later moved to Vienna and taught literature there at the American International School .

Since Stanislaw Lem's son also attended this school, Carroll came into contact with the Polish author and his agent at the time, Franz Rottensteiner , who was also the editor of the Fantastic Library at Suhrkamp Verlag . Convinced of the quality of the works, which initially received little attention in the USA, Rottensteiner brought them to the German market in quick succession, also inspired by the letters of enthusiastic readers such as Stephen King , Peter Straub , Michael Ende and Christopher Priest .

Carroll writes so-called fantastic literature . His stories begin in the present reality. The heroes of his books are people of the upper middle class, who at some point in their lives perform an act that at that point in time seems insignificant. It later turns out that they have not acted morally. A fictional world meets the known world, and the heroes experience situations as we know them from the horror genre. However, the focal points of the books are less the nightmarish scenes of horror than the inner state of the characters, their questions about “why” and “where”.

In Das Land des Lachens the reader accompanies the bored Thomas Abbey on his search for clues to find out everything about the writer Marshall France, whom he adores, in order to write the ultimate biography of the author. His research leads him to the town of Galen, where France lived and wrote. Galen is an idyllic place where there are strange things like talking dogs and people who seem straight out of Frances works; Gradually it turns out that the entire place sprang from the writer's imagination, and only when a bloody act is committed at the end, on the last page of the novel, does the reader get a hint as to how all of this is to be understood.

Works (selection)

The Rondua Books
  • 1987 Bones of the Moon (German 1988 under the title "Loud Dreams" by Suhrkamp)
  • 1988 Sleeping in Flames (German 1990 under the title "Sleep in the Flames" near Suhrkamp)
  • 1989 A Child Across the Sky (German 1992 under the title: "A Child in the Sky" near Suhrkamp)
  • 1994 From the Teeth of Angels (German 1995 under the title "When angels show teeth" in Europe)
  • 1991 Outside the Dog Museum (won the British Fantasy Award , German 1993 under the title "Before the Dog Museum" near Insel)
  • 1992 After Silence (German 1995 under the title "When the calm ends" at Suhrkamp)
The Crane's View books
  • 1998 Kissing the Beehive (German 1999 under the title »Pauline, swarmed around« Europe)
  • 1999 The Marriage of Sticks (German 2002 under the title "Fieberglas" near Eichborn)
  • 2001 The Wooden Sea (German 2003 under the title "The Wooden Sea" near Eichborn)
More novels
  • 1980 The Land of Laughs (German 1986 under the title " Das Land des Lachens " near Suhrkamp)
  • 1982 Voice of our Shadow (German 1989 under the title "The Voice of Our Shadow" by Suhrkamp)
  • 1990 Black Cocktail (German 1993 under the title "Black Cocktail" by Heyne)
  • 2002 White Apples (not yet translated)
  • 2006 Oko dnia (Polish; English: Eye of the Day)
  • 2008 The Ghost in Love (Polish 2007)
Short story collection
  • 1996 The Panic Hand (won the Bram Stoker Award for best short story collection, German 1989 under the title »Die Panische Hand«, at Suhrkamp)



  • 1988 World Fantasy Award for Friend's Best Man , dt. Friend of man (in the panic hand )
  • 1989 Prix Apollo (France) for The Land of Laughter
  • 1992 British Fantasy Award for Outside the Dog Museum , German: In front of the dog museum
  • 1996 Bram Stoker Award for The Panic Hand (the award-winning US edition contains, in addition to the texts of the 1989 German edition, Schwarzer Cocktail )
  • 2000 Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (France) for Ménage en grand ( Uh-Oh City )


“Jonathan Carroll has extraordinary writing potential ... and has become a cult author. They are never the same, but similar stories that complement each other to form a mosaic, a Carroll cosmos. Stories - sometimes funny, mostly melancholy - of guilt, sex and death, with which he ultimately only wants to remind us of the 'other' side of things, of the consequences of our actions and of the fact that something always remains somewhere and is just waiting for it. trip us up. Sometimes, however, he tears our hearts out and doesn't give it back. "

- Sascha Mamczak on When the quiet ends

“Dry, sad, beautiful. If Carroll's novel FIEBERGLAS is as successful as it would be hoped for, one can hope that (...) the even nicer successor DAS HÖLZERNE SEER (The Wooden Sea) will soon be available in German. ""

- Dietmar Dath on fiberglass

"(...) Truth is a mobile army of metaphors, says Nietzsche - add a few more lively verbs, so let the" king cholesterol "" coo "in the pub or another suspicious interlocutor" chuckle dirty " , put on the whole driest melancholy with subliminal necrophilic Viennese humiliation - "A fine guest - you invite him and he falls dead", and already has the whole Carroll style. (...) This is how German readers finally become experience that since Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim no hero of literature has fallen strangely and sadly from his time than Carroll's small town policeman Francis / Frannie McCabe. "

- Dietmar Dath on fiberglass


  • Frank Duwald (ed.): Jonathan Carroll: Black systems of romanticism. Materials for Fantastic Literature, Volume 4, Verlag Thomas Tilsner, Munich 1993.

Individual evidence

  1. See Franz Rottensteiner: An interview with Jonathan Carroll. In: Quarber Merkur No. 68, Bremerhaven 1987, pp. 51-58.
  2. In: Wolfgang Jeschke (Ed.): The Science Fiction Year 1996. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich, ISBN 3-453-09445-X , p. 694.
  3. ^ In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, May 11, 2002
  4. ^ In: Dogs are angels, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 2, 2003

Web links

Commons : Jonathan Carroll  - Collection of Images