A review of

The Way Through Doors

by Jesse Ball

Central question: How many stories can a story hold?
Format: 240 pp., paperback; Size: 5" x 8"; Price: $13.95; Publisher: Vintage; Editor: Jennifer Jackson; Cover design: Helen Yentus; Classes taught by author at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago: Dream Method, Lying; As a child, author mailed an envelope full of monster drawings to: the Queen of England, one of whose ladies in waiting wrote back to say that Her Majesty enjoyed them very much; Representative passage: “These shoes are poisonous. Beware. If you touch them or wear them the death you will suffer will make every death you have ever heard of or seen seem easy in comparison.”

While the world is full of doors and hallways, they exist in a world of logical expectation: this is where I’ll go, this is whom I’ll see there, this is what they’ll say. However, a dream is, in a sense, an escape from predicting. Remainders of waking memory spread into farther doors and farther hallways, mazes we might never see beyond our sleep—unless, somehow, they can be rendered in waking methods, such as images or text.

It is not by chance association that author Jesse Ball is well versed in the practice of lucid dreaming. His gift of consciously manipulating the unconscious is a talent quite clearly carried over into his new second novel, The Way Through Doors—a stunning sleep-logic lockbox so incantatory in its telling it can change the frame of where you are.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—Blake Butler

Blake Butler’s novella, EVER, just came out from Calamari Press, and his full-length debut, Scorch Atlas, will be out in September from Featherproof Books.

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