Jonathan Carroll – Outside the Dog Museum

Outside the Dog Museum       Let me just start with saying – this is the first book I’m going to review that I haven’t actually finished. I’m not fixated on completing every single book I start, cause I just don’t have enough free time to waste it for something I don’t enjoy. That’s why after some wasted time I decided this novel is not for me and I quitted. I read about ¾ of it, so I decided I still can review it.

First of all, I borrowed it because of the author. When I was in college I read a few of his books and I thought they were all magical, so I was hoping this might switch me to this “magical” world again. Well, apparently for unknown reasons this has stopped working on me. So, the story is like this: the famous architect Harry Radcliff goes crazy, then gets “cured” by some kind of shaman who constantly repeats some deep philosophical crap like some kind of freaking Paulo Coelho. Then he gets a proposition of building a dog museum, accepts and all hell breaks loose, so to speak.

I’m not quite sure what my problem with this book was. It was all I expected from Jonathan Carroll – it has magic, unpredictability, things, people or animals that never are what they appear to be. It seemed like the only thing limiting the author was his imagination. Everything could happen. You had guide dogs with some kind of superpower, then kids that walked and talked, but in reality weren’t even born yet, and a man eating his own car. This is the kind of thing that I expected from Jonathan Carroll. So what was the problem?

First of all  too much philosophy. Yes, a sentence or two about the meaning of life is always welcomed in a book, but when there are too many of them, I begin to roll my eyes and wait impatiently for something happen. Then, there’s the problem of Vienna. Apparently the author is in love with this city. I was hoping it would give it a rest in this one, but no, the protagonist was flying to Saru, and where did he have a layover? In freaking Vienna, of course. A few-days-layover during which of course something big and insightful must happen.

The other problem I had – but maybe that was just me – was that this book simply didn’t make any sense. Maybe at the end it would all fit into place, but for the first ¾ that I actually read it seemed like there were random magical things happening for no reason at all. Besides, it’s a novel about architecture (among the others), and I’ve got no interest in the subject whatsoever.

Is there anything good I can say about this book? Sure – it’s actually well written. Also, if you’re not as jaded with Vienna and the specific magic atmosphere of Jonathan Carroll, you’ll probably enjoy it. It’s got good rating on the net. It’s unpredictable, like most of his reading. I read that it has a nice ending, so maybe there’s that – though I wouldn’t know. Basically, though, I don’t think I will ever read any of Jonathan Carroll’s work again.


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