A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is a fascinating story about a small mountain town, local folklore, the supernatural, and the strong ties of friendship.
The story follows the lives of a few local teens living in a rural mountain town. With the introduction of an otherworldly girl into their friendship group, one with glowing white skin who doesn’t quite act right, things begin to change. Leo, whose storytelling favorite Uncle “Lud” is gravely ill, wonders if the stories his uncle shared with him are coming true in town. Although they’re only folklore (right?), with the way events are falling, it seems the only possible explanation. But what is really happening in this remote town, and will the friends hold onto their friendship (and lives) as events unfold?
The plot in this book seemed slow moving when I read it, but looking back after finishing the story I realize that it wasn’t actually very slow. There is a steady progression of events as the story moves forward, events building off of one another and spiraling seemingly uncontrollably at times. While there isn’t a ton of action in the plot, as it’s more of a dialogue and character based story, there is enough action to keep the reader glued to the pages waiting for more.
Each of the characters faces one hardship or another in their life, whether it’s pressure to succeed in school while dealing with a much loved (but ill) uncle, or not having enough food to eat- every one of the kids deals with their own difficulty with the aid of their trusted friends. It’s easy to imagine the plights of all the friends and the feeling of desperation practically oozes through the pages. The author definitely did a fantastic job of making the hardships easy for the reader to relate to and understand.
The characters in this book are all remarkable realistic, except for when the point is for a character to not seem realistic. The relationships between the characters and the feelings that they had for each other all resonated as true and realistic throughout the story. Even the dialogue between the characters was realistic. Any awkwardness between characters was obviously written as such specifically, rather than the product of an author who is unsure of how to write effective dialogue. Harun definitely understands how to make conversations between characters flow smoothly and realistically.
The writing in this book is really unique. At first I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to get into it, but after the first chapter I started to understand the flow and it wasn’t as much of a challenge to read. Occasionally the author refers to characters generically as “he” or “she”. At first this drove me crazy, I wanted to know who specifically by name the author was referring to; but as the story progressed I began to get used to this stylistic choice. Referring to characters as “he” or “she” initially added to the mysterious and ominous tone of the story, subtly adding to the mood.
The one thing that really detracted from my reading experience was the format of this book. In the Kindle version (at least I hope it’s just the kindle version), headings are all blocked together with absolutely no spaces in between the words, making it difficult at times to decipher what the heading is supposed to say. Also, at various points during the book there were sections that were double spaced, with only a sentence per line, and other sections where there were whole paragraphs with no spacing in between. The formatting was definitely not consistent throughout the story which really distracted me and detracted from my reading experience.
In the end I found myself liking this book. While it wasn’t the best book I’ve read in awhile (and the formatting really drove me crazy) this book did have some elements of a good story. If you’re interested in traditional mountain folklore, or books about the lives of those living in rural towns, you will truly enjoy this book. You will also enjoy this book if you enjoy unique characters and subtle supernatural elements.
I received this book for review purposes via NetGalley.