In isolated British Columbia, girls, mostly native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway. Leo Kreutzer and his four friends are barely touched by these disappearances - until a series of mysterious and troublesome outsiders come to town. Then it seems as if the devil himself has appeared among them.
In this intoxicatingly lush debut novel, Adrianne Harun weaves together folklore, mythology, and elements of magical realism to create a compelling and unsettling portrait of life in a dead-end town. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is atmospheric and evocative of place and a group of people, much in the way that Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones conjures the South, or Charles Bock's Beautiful Children provides a glimpse of the Las Vegas underworld: Kids left to fend for themselves in a broken world - rendered with grit and poetry in equal measure.
©2014 Adrianne Harun (P)2014 Tantor
"Harun spins a chilling tale shot through with both aching realism and age-old folktales, melding them together to capture a landscape lush with possibility and imagination and terrifying in its vast emptiness." (Booklist, Starred Review)
For me the best part was the setting and how it was presented. I felt the hills and mountains and old roads and folkies.
The story felt like it never fully came together, sometimes worked too hard. But it is good writing and many wonderfully presented moments and arcs.
I guess I would if I knew the right person, but I would have trouble recommending the audio book.
In most ways this was an excellent reading, however Dan John Miller is yet another male reader who feels compelled to lift his voice up unnaturally high for EVERY female character who speaks, rendering the women flat and uninteresting, all filled to the brim with the stereotypical "weaker" tendencies supposedly demonstrated by women. I cringed each time he did dialog with women characters; suddenly it went from being a story to a cartoon. Which is too bad because he is a talented performer and was able to get across much nuance in the men characters. Performers need to realize that if they hardly alter their voices, we can follow it and it will serve the story telling.
The title evokes a fairytale, and the cover calls forth the deep dark woods of northern BC, with its infamous Highway of Tears. In the real world, this is the site of some very bad things: racism, crime, teenage boredom, reckless development, and men who prey on women. This book does an impressive job of working up these real world troubles into a kind of ghost story. There are supernatural hints, just clear enough to add to the foreboding, even if the truly frightening things in this novel are so often the things you'd really find if you spent long enough in the lonesome north. Something has come out of a door in the mountain, and things are now dangerous for the teenagers of this nameless logging town -- but dangerous they always were.
The Highway of Tears, where so many local women disappear into slavery or death, runs through this story, but it is not the focus. It weighs on the characters, and shapes their decisions, but this is not primarily a story about disappearance. It is about what it's like to live with the fear that you or your sister or your lover or your mother might be next.
With that kind of backdrop, a ghost story could easily seem tasteless, even cruel. This book impressed me most because it managed to make a thrilling story that was still sensitive to the pain people really feel.
Just a word about the reading itself: I wish the reader did not slip into falsetto for every female voice he performs. His women characters all sound the same, and all sound stilted. It would have been great to have a performer who could actually perform in a northern Canadian accent, but that might be a tall order, since most Canadian actors try so hard to lose their accents when they end up in American media. The reader is still perfectly listenable, though, and the story makes it worth putting up with the performance.
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