i don't know if it's because this is the third jonathan carroll book i've read, or if i'm getting progressively crazier, but the ending of this one made sense to me. :)
it could also be that sleeping in flame is a little more straightforward than the other two i've read. there are curve balls still, non-sequiturs yes, but all-in-all i feel like he's much more focussed on love, as a prism, with facets of it everywhere. there is a primary improbable love story (carroll's protagonists are frequent fall-in-lovers) but there are also many other hearts to fill and break. there are letters of lust, and loss, and bereavement, old-fashioned romances, coquettish misrepresentations, and a grand unrequited love that is punishing to all involved. but there are also jealousies of other kinds, sacrifices, and near-misses, ones who got away, and ones who desperately try to get away. venasque says we are connected through time, returning to each other's lives, that we should be trying to understand ourselves, and each other, to learn how to live; once again he beguiles me, and makes me wish we had more time together, that he'd appear at my doorstep, and guide me to a better understanding of myself. as it stands, i put my balled fist on my chin, and nothing happens.
the book is charming in both senses of the word: this comes down to carroll's endlessly appealing voice, and the metaphysical-magical trappings of his alternate universe. added to that, is the fairy tale spin, a gilded anchor for all the thematic exploration in this beautiful book.