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A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain Paperback – February 25, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Teenage Leo and his friends live in an angry, desolate logging town in British Columbia surrounded by mountains and switchback roads where nearly anyone can just disappear. Burdened by missing parents, dead-end work, abuse, and abject poverty, they manage as well as they can, but desperation like theirs is easy to poke at, and when the devil gets in their heads—in many shapes, in many ways—a torrent of vicious mayhem is unleashed in the tinderbox forests one sweltering July. First, an enigmatic girl swishes into their group and plants dangerous thoughts of revenge; then a charismatic, card-wielding magician capitalizes on one girl’s quick eye and even quicker hands. Gradually, with a choking, sinister smoke slowly encroaching on their stoops and windowsills, Leo and his friends commit acts destructive, vengeful, and fueled by hatred, but at the same time full of arresting, awful beauty. And yet, as in the best stories about the devil, the darkness that wisps in sooty tendrils around them is not so easy to classify. In mesmerizing prose, debut novelist 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. --Sarah Hunter

Review

“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.... A mesmerizing incantation, harrowing and hypnotic.”

--The New York Times Book Review

“An ingenious tale of myth, magic and murder….told in rich prose….[An] auspicious debut.”

--Seattle Times
 “Hypnotic...tantalizing...lush and evocative...Literary and genre lovers alike can find a striking new voice to celebrate in A Man Came Out of A Door in the Mountain.”--Kansas City Star

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is literary magic of the highest order….It reads with the level care of a finely crafted story…but also with the fresh familiarity of a folksong….A spectacular read.”
--The Vancouver Sun
 
“Haunting [and] hypnotic.”--Seattle Magazine

“A dense and mythic coming-of-age allegory, equal parts fanciful and horrifying…Each of Harun’s people is fleshed out with maximum sureness and poetry.”--Missoula Independent

“In mesmerizing prose, debut novelist 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

“Intertwining with real-world pain and loss, this debut novel gains an extra sense of risk and realism, pitting ordinary, human evil against supernatural wickedness.”
--The Globe and Mail
 
“Much as it does to the novel’s characters, the gothic ambiance wraps around the reader and won’t let go.”
--Library Journal
 
“Harun creates a masterfully bleak and spooky mood, and succinctly captures the desperation of the young people’s lives…[a] promising debut.”
--Publishers Weekly
 
“Through a complex narrative structure, Harun [invests] all of her action…with an aura of myth and folk legend.”
--Kirkus Reviews

"A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is a rich, haunting, original novel that captures evil in many forms--mythic, magic and chillingly real. Adrianne Harun's writing can hold you breathless."
--Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
 
“I have long been a fan of Adrianne Harun's work, and A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain has raised my admiration to new heights. Writing with astonishing vividness, Harun weaves her own myths and magic as she plots her amazing tale.”
--Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Adrianne Harun's dark, mysterious novel is by turns Gothic and grittily realistic, astute and poetic in its evocation of evil everywhere.”
--Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670786101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670786107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
A Man Came Out of a Door In the Mountain is mostly told in the voice of Leo Kreutzer, a teen that lives with his mother and ailing Uncle Lud, to whom he is a caretaker, along with his mother. For the most part, life is a struggle for Leo and his friends Bryan, Tessa, Ursie, and Jackie. They spend a lot of their days at the refuse dump, shooting rats, and Leo’s life is punctuated by the correspondence course in physics that his mother is making him take, and the increasingly odd emails he’s getting from its instructor. Physics eludes him, but the trajectory of his friends’ lives does not. Leo’s Uncle Lud is a longtime storyteller, and it’s through these stories that Leo gains insight on the evil that seems to be lurking among them, especially in the form of an ethereally pale, unusually strong girl that calls herself Hana Swann. Then there’s Kevin Seven, a man that’s staying at the local motel and is especially gifted at sleight of hand. Ursie works as a maid there, and has fallen under his thrall and Jackie has fallen under the spell of Hana Swann. If you’re thinking this all sounds like so many loose ends, I suppose it does, but it does together in the end, in quite a shocking way.

The novel takes place in British Columbia, in a mining town pretty much run by Gerald Flacker, a man that keeps his meth addicted girlfriend submissive and her two small children feral and scrambling for handouts. It also helps that he has a family member on the police force and almost a whole family at his disposal in the form of the Nagles. As girls continue to disappear along the highway, Flacker maintains a hold on one of Leo’s friends, Bryan, but Bryan is starting to form a plan to rid the town of its resident menace.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I live along Highway 16. Adrianne Harun has taken this "Highway of Tears" and created an amazing fantasy based on the disappearances of mostly aboriginal girls, a case that defies solving to this day. Mixing reality, myth, the plight of small logging towns in northern British Columbia, and the boredom of mixed-race youth and hopelessness of the poor, she has run with this fascinating story. Her descriptive prose, the stories told by Leo's Uncle Lud, and a man who is unknown yet known, and a mysterious young girl--is she really the Snow Woman?--all combine to make this story compelling. The devil has many faces.

The characterizations and mindsets are spot on, too often found in these small one-store towns in the forests of British Columbia. Youngsters must work, alcoholism is rife, and in their free time they make their own entertainment, whether good or bad. A group of friends stick together, surviving the odds. Adrianne has taken on these elements and many others to give us a mythical yet not unknown reality, mixed it up and turned out full-blown a novel we can feel. Sad though these stories are, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was mesmerized and found it hard to put the book down, not wanting to lose a single thread. Remember her name, I'm sure we will be hearing it in the future.

Review based on Advance Reading Copy (ARC) I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When I think of this extraordinary book, the images, as in my nightmares, are all shades of gray. The story, although inspired by actual events along the "Highway of Tears" in Northern B.C., is full of dream-like elements, magic, half-glimpsed truths, and the kind of superstitions that often take hold when native beliefs and culture are entwined with white Christian culture and modern science within a closed community caught in a hard, seemingly inescapable way of life. There are disturbing characters who are not quite what they seem, and in fact could be the same character in different guises. The violence is an ingrained part of the people and the landscape, yet so is the poetry. Each of us should have an Uncle Lud to fill our heads and hearts with stories to encourage us to look behind this world to another. Each of us should have a friend like Leo. For me, I'm thrilled to have found an author as gifted as Ms. Harun.
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When I bought this book, I thought it was going to be a missing persons procedural type novel where the hero (or heroine) doesn't get any help from police and therefore has to go it alone against all odds.

From page 1, it was not at all what I expected, but I couldn't put it down. This book is one of the most beautifully written pieces of literature I have read in a long time.

The author, Adrianne Harun, possess a unique talent in describing the unseen world in very much the way that we experience it. Not absolute. Not finite. And without specific boundaries. Easy enough to be ignored or unacknowledged, but very real nevertheless.

Her choice of words, her phrasing, and her imagery had me captivated and sometimes haunted. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
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I am not typically a reader of Stephen King, though critics have compared this book to his work, as well as that of Neil Gaiman, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Like Gaiman, Harun leans on the imagery of mythology and fairy tale to seek larger meaning in a world where the cruelties and losses sometimes seem unfathomable. At the same time she weaves a story that feels genuine, peopled by well-drawn, thoughtfully articulated characters. The story centers on five young people, a close-knit and generous "family" of sorts, that supports each other in their struggles with poverty and the often harsh realities of the logging town in which they live. When two characters appear who are outsiders to this community, Kevin Seven and Hana Swann, the precariousness of the five friends' lives is illuminated. Seven and Swann are both villains and catalysts. In many ways, due to poverty, racism, loss, and lack of opportunity, the pot was already boiling. Seven and Swann simply turn up the heat. The end of the book, though suspenseful, feels as though it was always inevitable. Are Swann and Seven manifestations of the devil? While the book reflects on the nature of evil, the elements of magical realism are so deftly and subtly handled that we can accept Seven and Swann as both archetypes and dangerous strangers. Finally, the book is also peppered with e-mail exchanges between Leo, the narrator, and the unseen teacher of his internet physics course. These exchanges become increasingly surreal and their tone is almost reminiscent of a Borges short fiction. Somehow these exchanges intensify the feeling of the community portrayed in the book as a microcosm. The writing is vivid, beautiful (poetic in the best ways), gritty when it needs to be, but never mannered -- and never, never used to overshadow the stark realities and hurts of the character's lives. I would highly recommend this remarkable book.
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