So Many Doors

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Those who say a watched pot never boils obviously haven’t read Oakley Hall.

Reading So Many Doors, it’s easy to see why Michael Chabon and Amy Tan adored him as a mentor, why Thomas Pynchon and Richard Fariña formed their “micro-cult” around him. It’s a quiet book. Painfully quiet. Desperately quiet.

We know from the start there’s a murder. We’re told who got murdered, and we’re told who did the murder. Then we circle back years and years to meet the victim as a sixteen-year-old girl.

From there, the slow burn is on.

Characters wander aimlessly through their lives, drift in and out of each other’s. They keep their heads down. And they hurt each other, destroy each other. It’s heartbreaking.

This re-issue of a forgotten classic isn’t just a great read, it’s a goddamn master class in the art of subtlety and storytelling. The sustained simplicity of So Many Doors makes the short-form minimalism of Raymond Carver seem like a party trick.

The novel is so simple, so seemingly lacking style that it’s hours, days before you realize you never stopped dwelling on these poor people, trapped in their self-destructive lives. The kind of book that warrants a reread for sure.

Reviewed By:

Author Oakley Hall
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Hard Case Crime
Publish Date 2018-Nov-20
ISBN 9781785656880 Buy this Book
Issue February 2019
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller


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