Monday, September 9, 2019

"The Ten Thousand Doors of January"

Alix E. Harrow is a part-time historian with a full-time desk job, a lot of opinions, and excessive library fines. Her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Strange Horizons,, Apex, and other venues. She and her husband live in Kentucky under the cheerful tyranny of their kids and pets.

Harrow applied the Page 69 Test to The Ten Thousand Doors of January, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page sixty-nine of The Ten Thousand Doors of January reads:
She crawled animal-like into the sagging center of her rope bed. She felt rubbed raw, as if the grasses in the field had been sharp-edged, cutting away at that childish part of her that believed in adventure and magic.

She had lingered beside the ruins of the cabin all day, knowing the ghost boy would not appear but waiting anyway.

Perhaps there had never been an elsewhere, and she was simply young and lonely and foolish, and had dreamed up a story about a ghost boy and another world to keep herself company. Perhaps there was nothing at all except the rule-bound world of her aunts and grandmother, real as corn bread and dirt and just as dull.
And—as much as any one page could represent the other three-hundred-eighty-three—it’s pretty damn representative. It features a girl who wishes for other worlds but can’t find her way through to them. Longing and heartbreak and hope. A wistful nostalgia for a world that maybe never was. Check.

It also tells you something important about this book, which is that, despite the title, there are not actually ten thousand doors in this story. It’s not an adventurous romp through a hundred dazzling worlds—it’s much more about this world, and how desperately we need to escape it, and how hard it can be to find our ways out.
Visit Alix E. Harrow's website.

--Marshal Zeringue