The Wooden Sea A Novel

Jonathan Carroll

Tor Books



Trade Paperback

304 Pages



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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

From the moment a three-legged dog limps into the life of Police Chief Frannie McCabe and drops dead at his feet, McCabe finds himself in a new world of disturbing miracles. His small town of Crane's View, New York, has long been a haven of harmony and comfort—but now McCabe finds himself afflicted by the inexplicable, by omens that merge and converge to throw his life into doubt. And what he does to confront these omens over the next few days may have consequences for the whole world.

This bizarre and beautifully written novel has earned a wide and enthusiastic following. As the Rocky Mountain News noted: "Though critics may try, there's no way to pigeonhole The Wooden Sea. The novel includes time travel, religious doctrine, philosophy, talking animals, reincarnation, juvenile delinquency, murder, and megalomania. But mostly it's a great love story in which the protagonist is willing to give up everything for the woman he loves."


Praise for The Wooden Sea

"Carroll is a cult waiting to be born."—Pat Conroy

"Carroll is a master of sunlit surrealism . . . His beguiling, impossible novels are like Frank Capra films torn open to reveal the Philip K. Dick or Julio Cortázar mechanisms ticking away at their cores. The Wooden Sea is one of his funniest, strangest, and most melancholy offerings."—Jonathan Lethem

"[This novel is] a quirky piece of intelligent pop that is also surprisingly moving."—The New Yorker

"An intellectually diverting writer [who] confounds the genre-rigid standard of most literary criticism. It is only a matter of time until his readership swells."—The New York Times

"Poignant, wise, and wildly weird . . . . Utterly engaging characters, and a serious sense of fun."—Entertainment Weekly

"Carroll has the magic. He'll lend you his eyes, and you'll never see the world in quite the same way ever again."—Neil Gaiman

"A surrealistic yarn told so frankly it seems wholly plausible."—U.S. News and World Report

"Carroll is as scary as Hitchcock, when he isn't being as funny as Jim Carrey. If you've never read this wonderful fantasist, buy this book. You'll stay up all night and thank me in the morning."—Stephen King

"The Wooden Sea is a treat, and I'm heading out to look for more Carroll titles. Frannie, the worldly war-stung small town cop, hits classic status for me. His luminously hard-boiled American voice is smart, funny, and devastatingly decent. Kind of guy you're glad to follow anywhere—even into the strange zones of The Wooden Sea."—Katherine Dunn

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Old Vertue
Never buy yellow clothes or cheap leather. That's my credo and there are more. Know what I like to see? People killing themselves. Don't misunderstand; I'm not talking about the poor fucks who jump out windows or stick their sorry heads into plastic bags forever. No "Ultimate Fighting Championship" either, which is only a bunch of rabid crewcuts biting each other. I'm talking about the guy on the street, face the color of wet lead, lighting up a Camel and coughing up his soul the moment he inhales. Good for you, Sport! Long live nicotine, stubbornness, and sel
Read the full excerpt


  • Jonathan Carroll

  • Jonathan Carroll was born in New York City in 1949 and currently lives in Vienna, Austria. His many other books include The Land of Laughs, The Voice of Our Shadow, Bones of the Moon, Sleeping in Flame, After Silence, and From the Teeth of Angels. Carroll's website can be found at
  • Jonathan Carroll Robert Layne-Dyer
    Jonathan Carroll



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