As someone who has, on more than one occasion, had the experience of trying to figure out where a bookstore keeps books by Jonathan Carroll (Um, did you try Science Fiction or Mystery?), I’m not surprised he doesn’t seem to be as well known as say, Clive Barker, or Neil Gaiman.
I have loved his books for many years now, and often proselytize on their behalf. I don’t recall when exactly I discovered them, but I do have some pivotal life moments attached to certain titles, such as when I gave the woman, who would ultimately become my wife, a copy of The Marriage of Sticks, which she promptly devoured, thus making her an ardent admirer of the author.
So imagine my surprise, while watching an X-Files-ish television show, Fringe, when Peter, one of the show’s main characters (in search of that week’s nugget of truth), enters a bookstore to find its dwarfish proprietor (a friend of his) about to purchase a first edition of Carroll’s The Land of Laughs, from a customer who bears a passing resemblance to Carroll himself. Peter informs the customer that the book is far more valuable than store owner is offering him.
Needless to say, the missus and I both did delighted double-takes. Clearly someone on the Fringe writing staff enjoys Jonathan Carroll. This is also the second time in recent weeks, where a television show referenced something I’m passionate about. A Law & Order episode about a murdered Russian mobster, name-checked three figures in the English Premier League, Arshavin (recently signed by my beloved Arsenal), Abramovich, and Pavlyuchenko, as his known associates. You can watch the clip here:
Of course, neither of these would be the first time, I thought my television was speaking directly to me.