“Harun is heir apparent to Louise Erdrich and Harry Crews.... Readers will be swept away by this breathless, absorbing novel.” --Claire Vaye Watkins,The New York Times Book Review
In this mysterious and chilling novel, girls, mostly Native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway in the isolated Pacific Northwest. Leo Kreutzer and his friends are barely touched by these disappearances—until a series of enigmatic strangers arrive in their remote mountain town, beguiling and bewitching them.
It seems as if the devil himself has appeared among them.
The intoxicatingly lush debut novel by the acclaimed author of The King of Limbo, A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is an unsettling portrait of life in a dead-end town, as seductive and beautifully written as the devil’s dark arts are wielded.
“Mythical, magical, and chillingly real…Adrianne Harun’s writing can hold you breathless.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Adrianne Harun possesses the rare ability to see the world at an odd tilt that makes everything appear new, at times even to shimmer.” —Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls
“[Written] with astonishing vividness…I have long been a fan of Harun’s work, and A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain has raised my admiration to new heights." —Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
The New York Times Book Review
- Claire Vaye Watkins
Among Harun's bountiful accomplishments is her depiction of the dirt-poor with honesty, not pity…The book is a local epic, pitting absolutes against each other. And it turns out that good versus evil remains an enthralling mode of storytelling, at least when it's done as well as this. In the contemporary aesthetic that paints, often unthinkingly, in grayscale, Harun's Old Testament sensibility is a vivid standout…readers will be swept away by this breathless, absorbing novel. A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain proves that Harun is heir apparent to Louise Erdrich and Harry Crews. Her characters shimmer and squirm in liminal spaces, nether regions of geography, race, spirituality and aesthetics. This novel is a mesmerizing incantation, harrowing and hypnotic.
This slick, if overstuffed, first novel from short story writer Harun (The King of Limbo) is an exploration of evils both supernatural and temporal. It seems things couldn’t get any bleaker for teenagers Leo Kreutzer and his friends Bryan, Ursie, Tessa, and Jackie. Drug abuse, poverty, and prejudice hem in their lives in a tiny unnamed Canadian logging town; escape consists of trips to shoot rats at the town dump. But the devil himself appears to have tests in mind for Leo and his friends. One day Kevin Seven, a mysterious musician, and Hana Swann, his girlfriend, come to town; the pair quickly works its way into the friends’ lives. Because the town is terrorized already by Gerald Flacker, a local meth baron, and his henchmen, the Nagle brothers, no one notices the newcomers’ insidious influence until it’s almost too late. Interspersed with the plot are bits of folklore Leo has cribbed from a dying uncle, recounting ominous stories of the devil and his handmaiden. Harun creates a masterfully bleak and spooky mood, and succinctly captures the desperation of the young people’s lives, such as when she describes the “daily weight of disregard” that made them “vibrate with the dual desire to both shake and embrace” everyone they met. While stylishness abounds, the impact of this promising debut is diluted by a too-busy plot and a too-long cast of characters. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"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
In British Columbia, there are still places so remote that the isolation can be suffocating, with few strangers to break the patterns of rural life. Poverty hangs on residents like a mantle, and personal relationships run deep and long. But one simple summer day, things begin to change in a remote logging town. Young women have been disappearing off the highway, and intriguing strangers have come to stay: a man with a magician's touch with cards and a mysterious young woman with pale alabaster skin. Leo Kreutzer and his friends, fresh from school and feeling the new weight of adulthood pressing down, don't quite know what to make of all this. But one thing is sure: by season's end, the small town's population will be even smaller, and those who remain will be forever changed. VERDICT Harun's mastery clearly lies in establishing atmosphere and mood. Much as it does to the novel's characters, the gothic ambiance wraps around the reader and won't let go. Laced with local color, this debut will please fans of the macabre.—Leigh Wright, Bridgewater, NJ
The devil is alive and well and living in British Columbia. In a remote section of western Canada, girls have started disappearing, and it's unclear why or who's responsible. Admittedly, there are some egregiously nasty types around, most notably the Nagle brothers, Markus and GF, who tool around in their orange Matador intimidating the local population. And intimidating they are—while they're involved in unseemly activities, they mainly just like being badasses. As Uncle Jud tells it, "[e]verybody's got a mean bone. Some have a full set." Jud is uncle to Leo, one of the narrators of the novel, who likes to hang out with his friends Jackie, Bryan, Ursula ("Ursie") and Tessa, but they're all getting more and more disturbed by the way girls are vanishing near what has become known as the Highway of Tears. All of the friends are in late adolescence and trying to make sense of life in their remote logging town. And then a number of strangers appear, bringing mystery and allure to their lives: Kevin Seven does dazzling card tricks and starts to mentor Ursie, who'd never before even shuffled a deck, while fragile and self-possessed Hana Swann, with preternaturally white skin, calmly tries to convince Bryan of the rationality of getting revenge on Gerald Flacker, a local drug dealer seemingly in league with the devil. Through a complex narrative structure, Harun manages to invest all of her action—slow as it sometimes is—with an aura of myth and folk legend that raises it above the lurid and sensational.
Adrianne Harun teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshops, an MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University, and is the author of the acclaimed short story collection The King of Limbo. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.