[[quoteright:198:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/landoflaughs_4262.jpg]]

->''Yes, I like masks and things that are different and fantastic, but enjoying the almost-real and fearing the monstrous are very different things.''

''The Land of Laughs'' is a bizarre fantasy novel by Jonathan Carroll, as far from StandardFantasySetting as possible (no dragons, but a lot of white bull terriers). Has subtle (but powerful) elements of {{Horror}}, but also MagicRealism. If not for its numerous - and not playful - genre elements, its metafictionality could tempt someone to pidgeon-hole it as an example of PostModernism. Contains tones of suspense, but everyone knows [[TwinPeaks who killed Laura Palmer]]: the question is why he did it and what to do with the consequences.

Thomas Abbey, the main character, is tired with teaching American literature to resistant kids and with everyone seeing him basically as a son of his father, who used to be famous actor before he died. One day he decides to write a biography of his favorite writer, Marshall France, leaves his collection of masks at home and goes to France's home town, accompanied by his new girlfriend, puppet collector and fellow France reader, Saxony. When in Galen, they have to convince France's daughter Anna that Thomas should be allowed to write the book. Their Galen landlady is quirky Mrs. Fletcher, a self-confessed ex-inhabitant of an asylum and the owner of a white bull terrier with fluctuant temper that follows them around. Something seems to be wrong with her, and something becomes to seem wrong with everything in Galen, though it is not easy to say what exactly: for example, there is a woman who, from time to time, bears an uncanny resemblance to a kite.

Clearly, a must-read for all NewWeird fans (although it was written long before the invention of the term), po mo connoisseurs, and bull terrier lovers - as well as for postmodernist bull terriers devouring NewWeird. (Nothing strange in that, when you came to think about it. When you are a bull terrier, once you stop reading fiction there is no way for you not to be postmodern.)
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!!Provides examples of:

* AllDogsArePurebred: justified in-universe, being one of the hints that Galen [[spoiler:originates in fiction]].
* [[spoiler:{{Animorphism}}]]: happens to quite a bunch of people.
* AntiHero: Thomas has quite a few characteristics.
* ApatheticTeacher: Thomas.
* ArchnemesisDad: Thomas.
* BettyAndVeronica: Saxony and Anna.
* BigFriendlyDog: overlapping with {{Hellhound}} (of a Portent type). Yes, really.
* BrokenBird: Saxony.
* BrokenMasquerade
* BrokenPedestal: Marshall France to Thomas.
* TheChosenOne: in a way, Thomas.
* DominoRevelation
* [[spoiler:DownerEnding]]
* TheEvilsOfFreeWill
* [[TheFatalist The Fatalists]]: all the Galen townfolk, in a way. It makes them also [[TheStoic The Stoics]].
* FemmeFatale: Anna France.
* GenreShift: after Thomas [[spoiler:hears a dog talk]].
* [[GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul Getting Smilies Written On Your Soul]]: Marshall France's characters can be seen as an example of this trope.
* GreenEyedMonster: much of the novel's suspense is based on the tense relation between Anna France and Saxony.
* IAmNotMyFather: Thomas. From his point of view, he has an [[AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents Amazingly Embarrassing Dad]].
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: not even near to [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaking it]].
* LivingDollCollector: Marshall France.
* MagicRealism: in that we never come to know how it was possible for Marshall France to [[spoiler:make his characters real]].
* ManipulativeBitch: Anna France.
* MostWritersAreWriters: Thomas, as well as Marshall France.
* ObfuscatingInsanity: [[spoiler:Ms. Fletcher]].
* PeoplePuppets: [[spoiler:Galen townfolk]], though in a general way.
* PlayingWithPuppets: Marshall France. In a way, also his daughter.
* QuirkyTown: Galen. Complete with EccentricTownsfolk.
* RealityWarper: [[spoiler:Marshall France and then Thomas]].
* [[spoiler:RealityWritingBook]]: of type 1, Marshall France's books.
* RelationshipSabotage: Anna does it to Thomas and Saxony.
* SurrealHorror
* [[spoiler:TalkingAnimal]]: of a creepy sort.
* [[spoiler:TomesOfProphecyAndFate]]: Marshall France's books for Galen townsfolk.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Galen.
* WorldOfSymbolism
* YourMindMakesItReal: [[spoiler:Marshall France and then Thomas]].
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