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The Land of Laughs

Carroll, Jonathan

4,765 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0670417556 / ISBN 13: 9780670417551
Published by Viking, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1980
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Novel Ending Books (Franklin, TN, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

A nice copy of the first edition, first printing of the author's first book. Text is tight, solid, and clean. Lettering to spine is bright and unflaked. Very mild foxing to top edge. In a Fine - bright and glossy dust jacket w/mild wrinkle to spine crown, very mild shelf wear. No tears. Not price clipped ($10.95). No previous owners' names. No remainder mark or spray. Not a Book Club Edition. This is a nice copy at a very good price. Compare and see. Photos sent upon request. Accurate Descriptions/Quality Books/Unmatched Prices. Bookseller Inventory # 5812

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Land of Laughs

Publisher: Viking, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1980

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Near Fine; Dust Jacket - Very Good; New York: Viking, 1980. First Edition/First Printing. Octavo, jacket designed by Mel Brofman, boards are 3/4 russet paper-covered and 1/4 indigo cloth with gilt spine imprinting, 241 pp. A Near Fine book, showing some top edge dustiness and small rectangle on ffep of apparent price sticker residue, in a Near Fine jacket showing small-scale top and bottom edge wear. Please see scan. The first novel of a now much-appreciated boundary-crossing novelist who inhabits modern fantasy, horror, science fiction, and literary directions such as slipstream, magic realism -always more than one in any given title. A nice example, well preserved. L-64

Review:

Thomas Abbey is a man stuck in a rut. An English teacher in a small Connecticut prep school, Abbey is in a crisis. His career is unfulfilling, he has no social or love life to speak of, and he cannot break out of the shadow of his famous father, the actor Stephen Abbey. To kick-start his life, he takes a sabbatical to work on a biography of his favorite writer, Marshall France. France's books were the only thing that kept Abbey sane during his childhood, and though he was renowned for his lyrical and imaginative children's books, nearly nothing was known about the writer's life.

Although Abbey has been warned that France's daughter Anna has blocked all previous attempts at her father's biography, he and Saxony Garder--an intense woman also obsessed with France's life--head to Galen, Missouri, with high hopes of breaking down Anna's resistance. They are surprised to find Anna the soul of small-town hospitality and quite excited about Abbey's proposal--even eager to get the project finished as soon as possible. Even stranger than Anna's behavior is the town of Galen itself. On the surface, all is as a small midwestern town should be. But the people of the town seem to know what their future holds--freak accidents and all--down to the hour and are as eager for Abbey to finish the biography as Anna is.

As far as plot goes, The Land of Laughs doesn't break any new ground--it is a riff on a very old literary theme--and the more interesting issues the story raises--fate, free will, and the creative power of the written word--receive only a glancing blow as the story careens to its somewhat unsatisfying Gothic ending. That said, Carroll does show a good ear for dialogue and a deft hand at creating complex characters and quietly ominous moods. And the story--hoary plot line and all--immediately grabs you and doesn't let go. If you already know Jonathan Carroll from his other novels, you will want to add this reissue of his first novel to your library. And if you haven't yet been introduced to this inventive author, The Land of Laughs is the perfect place to begin. --Perry M. Atterberry

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