Just as the the word "weird" has many implications and shades of meaning, so too does the latest--weird--work by this gifted and perplexing writer. As Carroll ( Bones of the Moon ; Sleeping in Flame ) himself says, "Life has a habit of turning dark corners." Applied here, this observation seems an understatement: these convoluted corners are both light and dark, are many, varied and constantly challenging. Flashing back and forth in time, the story concerns the apparent suicide of filmmaker Philip Strayhorn, whose bizarre Midnight series has attained cult status. Strayhorn's best friend, Weber Gregston, a filmmaker with a more intellectual bent, is drawn into a dizzying series of events by a videotape that Philip leaves him. The wickedly imaginative twists and turns that follow are only one facet of this intriguing tale, which seems at times like a framework on which to hang a myriad of metaphysical notions. What, for instance, is one to make of a tattoo of a crow that comes alive in an airplane lavatory? Carroll's style is elegant; his writing is by turns disturbing, fey, sardonic, grim--frequently within a single paragraph. The unexpected lies at the heart of this novel, and readers seeking a provocative and stimulating--though not always easy--read will be rewarded.
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