Jonathan Carroll

Bones of the Moon

In the land of Rhondua a young boy, with the aid of his mother, goes on a quest to acquire five magical bones that will put him in the position to rule the whole kingdom. It is a strange world, one that can be found only in dreams, and a place that Cullen James finds herself visiting every night.

After a series of disasterous relationships she winds up happily married to Danny James, an old college friend, and the two of them live with their baby daughter in an apartment. The story opens shortly after a vicious murder has taken place in their apartment building. A man whom they nicknamed Axe Boy, who had killed his mother and sister in a vicious attack, is shut in a treatment centre for mental illness.

Cullen finds herself at the centre of this man's rehabilitation, receiving letters from the institution that become gradually more disturbing. At the same time her life is complicated by a meeting with an admiring film director, whose pursuit of her leads him into discovering Rhondua for himself. All these things, as well as the guilt she carries due to an abortion, become increasingly wrapped up in the dream world of Rhondua.

These dream interludes intrude more upon the story as the novel progresses, her real life and the dream world becoming increasingly intermingled as the novel approaches its conclusion where everything she holds dear is at risk. This novel is short and enjoyable, recommended to anyone who enjoys Carroll's relaxed style that mixes fantasy and realism. As with most of his novels, the realism is very much at the centre of the story, with the fantastic elements taking a back seat for most of the novel. It is very much a style of his own, one you might say Clive Barker has been moving towards for years.

His though is a very benign style, placing more importance in character development than dwelling on gruesome detail, so even the disturbing scenes are done with a light touch that makes them easy to read. Bones of the Moon is not Carroll's best novel, it is perhaps a little too short for him to really get in his stride, considering the breadth of the material he covers in a relatively short space. It definately stands on its own two feet though, and is a nice short introduction to his work.

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