- Gebundene Ausgabe: 295 Seiten
- Verlag: St Martins Pr; Auflage: First American Edition (1. November 1996)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0312146981
- ISBN-13: 978-0312146986
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14,6 x 2,5 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: Schreiben Sie die erste Bewertung
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 683.399 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
The Panic Hand (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. November 1996
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"I want you frowning now, knowing something is very wrong with your parachute even before actually pulling the cord and praying it opens. P.S. It won't." So Jonathan Carroll addresses his readers in this much-awaited collection of 20 stories. Author of several wry and dark novels, Carroll has a considerable following, but his books are difficult to pigeonhole, so some horror and fantasy readers are still unfamiliar with him. This collection shows off his talents admirably, in tales that range from bittersweet sadness over God's failing memory, to a disturbing friendship between a dog and a dying child, to a macabre fantasy about how men and women manipulate each other. As The New York Times put it, "Carroll's world is one that is subtly out of kilter, and which can take a turn for the sinister at any time." This volume is winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Short Story Collection.
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I enjoyed this collection well enough. JC's writing is always a comfortable read. However the story "Uh-Oh City" is awesome. He presents an idea that I would love to see fleshed out. He leaves questions on the mind that want to be answered. The book was worth it for that story alone for me.
In these stories, Jonathan Carroll takes for his subjects such ideas as werewolves, Jewish mythology, the gestalt soul, imaginary friends, Hell, stalkers, and the takeover of the world by animals; others are undefinable. Regardless of his outward imagery though, these stories are about people - about their relationships and how the odd event provokes a sudden reevaluation of their lives. As such, I thought there were several that were extremely well done, including THE FALL COLLECTION, THE SADNESS OF DETAIL, LEARNING TO LEAVE, and A WHEEL IN THE DESERT, THE MOON ON SOME SWINGS. I have a feeling though that if five or ten people were to read this collection, each would have a different 'favorite'. In other words, I thought there were few stories in the collection that were unpolished or clumsy - almost all were well-done - though it seemed as if the different approaches might work better with different readers.
While the themes and - I think - the objectives are different, these stories remind me of the short fiction of Peter Carey and George Saunders - two authors who I also feel use fantastic and odd settings to examine personal meaning. This is different than the short science-fiction/fantasy/horror that I read in times past, which used the oddness factor to set up a 'gotcha' ending. Mr. Carroll often kept me guessing throughout the story - they were sideways enough I couldn't begin to guess what was coming next - but his endings don't appear to be designed to jump out at the reader. The effect of the story may be unsettling, but in the ones that affected me the most, the result was more of an appreciation for rendering a particular state of being in a very effective way.
Fans of purely realistic fiction will probably be unamused, but those who appreciate literate speculative fiction - or just literate short fiction - may want to give this one a try. Like most single-author short story collections, this one also has it's ups and downs, though the ones I liked, I really liked. Four stars.
The other stories here are more of the same wild, wonderful fare. THE PANIC HAND was originally published in Germany with a slightly different table of contents. I own a copy of that book, but being unable to read German was slightly hampered in trying to understand the stories. Carroll's better at the long form--his favorite literary device is the untrustworthy narrator, and it takes at least 50 pages to set up a story with one of those that won't annoy the reader. Even still, his tendency for the twist and his incredible way of creating characters that you would like to know in a few sentences is enjoyable even in the short form.
To his credit, Carroll will have none of it. Well, he'll have a little, provided he can transform it in his own unique way. Try "Friend's Best Man" (a dog story with a difference), "Uh-Oh City", "The Sadness of Detail", or the hilarious "Postgraduate" (gives new meaning to the term "lifelong learning").
I detect a fairly strong Central European influence, probably owing to Carroll's long residence in Vienna. Some of the stories seem to owe something to Robert Walser or Kafka, and the premise of "Postgraduate" is similar to that of Gombrowicz's "Ferdydurke". All to the good, I think. Not all the stories are first-rate, but writing fiction of this sort requires one to take risks.