Finished May 17
A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adrianne Harun
This is a novel with layers, more complex than it seems at first.Set in a small town along Highway 17 in northern B.C. this novel is drawn partly from the disappearance of women, many of them native along this highway, a tragedy that has led to this highway being dubbed the Highway of Tears.
The novel is set around a group of young people. Leo Kreutzer is the only son of a mixed race marriage. His mother is native and his father white. Leo's mother has big plans for him, wanting him to become a mining engineer and thus Leo is taking a distance course in physics this summer, a course Leo is struggling with. His father is away working in a northern camp. Leo's uncle Lud also lives with them as he is dying from cancer. Lud is an old soul, a man attached to his landscape, a man in touch with the old legends, a man who seems to see and know things beyond the visible. Leo is driven to record his uncle's knowledge while he still can.
Leo's best friend is Bryan. Bryan and his sister Ursie live alone since their mother died and also have a mix of white and native blood. Their father is also away working in a camp, and recently his letters have grown more sparse. Their aunt, Madeline, is their closest family member and she has helped Ursie get a chambermaid job at the motel where she also works.
Another friend is Tessa. Tessa and her siblings were taken into a series of foster homes when she was eleven, none better than the home they'd been taken from. After two years Tessa and her older sister came back, but Tessa was changed. Leo has always had feelings for Tessa, but while close, the relationship has never progressed into true boyfriend/girlfriend status.
Jackie is full native, a strong girl, tough and tough-looking, she works at a nearby logging camp's dining hall. She has earned a reputation of not being one to take any crap from anyone, be it men making sexual suggestions to her or her friends, or those commenting on her ethnicity.
Also in town is Flacker, a man running a small empire of alcohol and drug supply. His closest allies are the two Nagle brothers, local bad boys who work for him and deal his products. He also has an addicted girlfriend Cassie, who lives with him along with her two young children. These children are one of Bryan's soft spots and he tries to smuggle them food.
There are many transients moving along this highway and a couple have come along this summer making contact with these five teens. Hana Swan arrived at the camp where Jackie works and befriended her, but she seems a dangerous girl to Leo, encouraging risky behaviour.
Kevin Seven is a magician, specializing in card tricks, who has taken a room at the motel where Ursie works and who starts to have an influence on her.
As a fire starts near the town and everyone plans for the worst, things seem to get more intense, and the five teens find themselves drawn into danger and risky situations.
The story of these people is woven through with the legends, the philosophy of the unseen, and the terrible truth of the highway. An amazing read.