Reel follows two lives that collide at a Seattle punk show, and the strange consequences that arise. Timon serves as the hyperobservant western outpost of his family’s business, verifying artifacts and losing himself in deafening music and isolation. Marianne fears stagnation, and has begun to crave the rootless travel of her youth. After a tense meeting, each proceeds through a series of surreal encounters that deconstruct the lives that they’ve created, forcing each one into a reckoning with the world around them.

It was selected by Nylon as one of the best books of 2016.

Reel is a story about history and artifact set, like foreshadowing, against the backdrop of a fading scene. It asks: When youth ripples out like a dying soundwave, what takes its place? What delivers new thrill, and keeps us in motion? Carroll’s characters are as intelligent, observant, and sensitive as their author. Their subtle interactions bring our focus toward what so often goes unnoticed, what we don’t even know is guiding us toward our inevitable future.”
– Sarah Gerard, author of Binary Star

“Never cloying or pretentious, Toby Carroll’s prose is bright, knowing and honest. His characters are unique without feeling like they were crafted, but instead, simply, reported. Reel is about as real as good fiction gets.”
– Ryan Britt, author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read

Rare Bird Books, October 2016
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Rare Bird Books is distributed by Publishers Group West.


“Carroll’s debut novel is ostensibly (well, and actually) about the journey two people go on after meeting at a punk show in Seattle, but it’s also a provocative meditation on the larger trip that they—and all of us—are on; namely, finding out who we really are, the fragility of the lives we’ve constructed around us, and what it is we’re doing in the little time we have.”
Kristen Iversen, Nylon

“…Reel serves as a meta-commentary on art and its consumption, beyond the surface layer the protagonists’ employment.  The novel highlights the subjectivity of experience and how easily such experiences can be manipulated or even randomly and irrevocably altered.”
John Venegas, Angel City Review

“Carroll is a new, exciting voice who walks a fine line between the most lyrical end of literary fiction and the kind of writing that deals with mosh pits and waiting outside a tattoo shop while eating cheap food.”
Gabino Iglesias, LitReactor

“…as we continue to follow them from that point on, we begin to discover just how deeply that brief meeting has nudged their lives off center. Whether they notice or not, they have begun to fall under the influence of one another.”
TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog

Book Notes playlist for Reel at Largehearted Boy

English Kills Review on the Reel release party

Reel in October book roundups from Flavorwire, Nylon, and Clash.