White Apples by Jonathan Carroll

He’s an odd writer. I like his ghost stories, none of which seem quite like any other stories I’ve ever read, as if there is an endless series of different ways of handling this old genre. But are these variations much worth having? I’m not sure. The story this time is full of cosmic nonsense that seems vague and rather pointless, and it seemed a bit pleased with itself with all its ‘God is the cosmic mosaic’ wittering. Also, it builds up dangers well, then pulls rabbits out of hats to dispel them in rather lame ways.

The characters are good, fresh and mostly likeable, as is most of the writing (though he does write the odd rotten, clumsy sentence, and mystifyingly leaves them in), but the praise he gets seems a little out of proportion. One review compares him to Raymond Carver on acid, that tiredest modern critical trope, and Carver is surely in a very different league. I like him, and will keep reading him, but I really can’t see that he is as special as many people claim.