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The Land of Laughs | [Jonathan Carroll]

The Land of Laughs

Thomas Abbey is a man stuck in a rut. To kick-start his life, he takes a sabbatical to work on a biography of his favorite writer, the mysterious Marshall France. Although Abbey has been warned that France's daughter, Anna, has blocked all previous attempts at her father's biography, he is surprised to find her the soul of small-town hospitality and quite excited about Abbey's proposal. Even stranger than Anna's behavior, though, is the town itself. The people seem to know what their future holds - freak accidents and all - down to the hour.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrator and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.

A few words from Neil on The Land of Laughs: "I chose The Land of Laughs for Neil Gaiman Presents because I love Jonathan Carroll’s books and want to bring them to as wide an audience as possible. I suspected the character of Thomas Abbey would be both a challenge and an opportunity for the right narrator. Edoardo Ballerini conveys a certain wistfulness and vulnerability underneath Abbey’s grumpiness."

Thomas Abbey is a man stuck in a rut. An English teacher in a small Connecticut prep school, Abbey is in a crisis. His career is unfulfilling, he has no social or love life to speak of, and he cannot break out of the shadow of his famous father, the actor Stephen Abbey. To kick-start his life, he takes a sabbatical to work on a biography of his favorite writer, Marshall France. France's books were the only thing that kept Abbey sane during his childhood, and though he was renowned for his lyrical and imaginative children's books, nearly nothing was known about the writer's life.

Although Abbey has been warned that France's daughter, Anna, has blocked all previous attempts at her father's biography, he and Saxony Garder - an intense woman also obsessed with France's life - head to Galen, Missouri, with high hopes of breaking down Anna's resistance. They are surprised to find Anna the soul of small-town hospitality and quite excited about Abbey's proposal - even eager to get the project finished as soon as possible.

Even stranger than Anna's behavior is the town of Galen itself. On the surface, all is as a small Midwestern town should be. But the people of the town seem to know what their future holds - freak accidents and all - down to the hour and are as eager for Abbey to finish the biography as Anna is.

To hear more from Neil Gaiman on The Land of Laughs, click here, or listen to the introduction at the beginning of the book itself.

Learn more about Neil Gaiman Presents and Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).

©1980 Jonathan Carroll (P)2011 Richard Parks

What the Critics Say

"Edoardo Ballerini perfectly captures the hesitant and faltering Thomas Abbey, a schoolteacher who wants to write the biography of his favorite children’s author, the mysterious Marshall France. Thomas’s story starts out realistically enough, but when he and his girlfriend take a research trip to France’s hometown in Missouri, things begin to veer into the bizarre. Ballerini makes the listener sympathize with Thomas, even as he begins an affair with France’s daughter, Anna, a woman obsessed with her dead father. Ballerini’s command of Thomas’s character and his spot-on voices for the secondary characters ground the story as it becomes more fantastical and the listener learns that either things aren’t what they seem or Thomas is not entirely sane. An unsettling examination of obsession." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (359 )
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3.7 (325 )
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Story
4.2 (328 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Joie California 06-11-12
    Joie California 06-11-12 Member Since 2007

    Jo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    138
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3218
    70
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wierdly Thought Provoking"

    This is one of those circular plots that make me think that the title should be "Twisted". Good for a philosophical discussion on reality and imagination.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudia Bell 02-06-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Different"
    Would you listen to The Land of Laughs again? Why?

    I liked the way the author was able to pull me into his story....


    What did you like best about this story?

    Hasn't really, story is over, but wold love to hear a sequel of the town folk and find out what happens to ana.


    Have you listened to any of Edoardo Ballerini???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, by describing scenes and background simutaneously.


    If you could take any character from The Land of Laughs out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I didn't find anything wrong.


    Any additional comments?

    Have recommened it to others......

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne 03-06-13
    Yvonne 03-06-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible waste of time and money!"
    What disappointed you about The Land of Laughs?

    i was not able to get past the (pompous) editor who was spouting on about how he picks (what he thinks are) great books, blah, blah, blah. Yuck


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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