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Book Review 75: The Wooden Sea by Jonathan Carroll

wooden sea

I’ve spent the last month of 2015 reading three novels by Jonathan Carroll. The Wooden Sea is the third of the Carroll novels I’ve read. You can look at the reviews of the other two Carroll novels: White Apples and Glass Soup here.  I will admit after reading these novels that Jonathan Carroll has joined my must read author list. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these works and they have shown me how far the boundaries of fantasy fiction can extend.

The Wooden Sea is the story of small town police chief, Frannie McCabe of Crane’s View, New York.  Chief McCabe has a three-legged dog that drops dead in front of him and the event takes him on a life-altering ride throughout the novel unveiling the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

I could not help but think of this passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. {1 Corinthians 13:1-8 The Message Bible}

The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians in that passage of New Testament Scripture what the true meaning of love is in 1st century Greek Culture. It seems to me by happenstance that Carroll has woven the same theme in the Wooden Sea (as well as White Apples & Glass Soup). The Wooden Sea would never be mistaken for a Christian novel, but there is spiritual resonance along with touches of the surrealistic and fantastic interwoven together making it a surprising novel with emotion and depth.

The only issue I had with the novel was the ending.  The abrupt ending of the novel left me wanting more time with Chief McCabe and his wife, Magda.  However, this novel was my favorite of the Carroll novels and I will give it my highest recommendation as one of my best reads of 2015.

 

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