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There Are Doors

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  743 ratings  ·  44 reviews
An Earthman falls in love with a woman from another planet and must transcend time itself in order to find his way to her.
Paperback, 313 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Tor Books (first published 1988)
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3 Stars

I was hoping to like There are Doors more than I actually did. I am already a fan of Gene Wolfe and I am familiar with his work. He is an author that requires the reader to be open minded and at times to do work. This book is no exception, both the narrator and the story itself make it difficult for the reader to separate realities and to have any trust in what we are being told.

I loved the concept. What a star crossed love story of a Goddess, a man, and many worlds. This story just seeme
Dec 05, 2008 Peter rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
I had a bad experience with Gene Wolfe. I read his Book of the New Sun a long time ago, and found it both confused and confusing; I didn't like it.

I can enjoy complexity in a novel, but I like there to be a point to the whole thing. I like there to be some sort of fundamentally coherent plot. Too many books lack that. I hate books in which the protagonist (if there is one) is insane, or reality changes in arbitrary and unexplained ways...much as I love the 60's, I don't care for a lot of the wri
Joshua Burns
As in any of Wolfe's book, we have a disoriented/untrustworthy narrator that makes the transition between worlds only the first layer to peel off in this mystical novel. We know as little as he does which makes the transition so beautiful and novel in the first place.

What sets this apart from his later work is unlikely enough the comprehensive nature. We can pretty much tell when the divisions between worlds occur. What remains for the reader to decide is whether this narrator is off-kilter or
Grey Wolf
One of my favourite books of all time.
Daniel Petersen
'"That was a sad story," Tina Said. "Sometimes fairy tales are too much like real life. But I liked it."' (P. 248)

Some of the themes of this novel--goddesses, other worlds, and the yearning pursuit of one's 'True Love'--can variously be found in Wolfe's major multi-volume works, the Soldier series, the Book of the Long Sun tetralogy, and the Wizard-Knight duology. But here the wonder and mystery are served up in downbeat yet exotic contemporary urban settings, all the more enthralling for being
Perry Whitford
'There Are Doors' is the everyday tale of a shop assistant who falls in love with a goddess from a parallel universe. At least, this is everyday stuff from a writer with the incomparable imagination of Gene Wolfe.
The lovelorn man is named Mr. Green and the goddess has many names, but her color is undoubtedly white. She moves through the worlds via 'significant' doors, through which the ordinary yet noble Green is intent on following her.

Italian restaurants that double as doorways to another dime
One thing to remember about Gene Wolfe's books - the narrator isn't always right. Sometimes, the narrator is dreadfully mistaken. And sometimes, the narrator is outright lying. This really keeps you on your toes.
Josie Boyce
One of my all time favourite books.
There Are Doors contains all of the features you should expect from a Gene Wolfe book- unreliable narrator, multiple ways to interpret the action, names with hidden significance, stories within the story, etc. Unfortunately it doesn't present these features in a way that's as interesting as some of Wolfe's other work.

This book keeps you on uncertain footing for much longer than the average Wolfe book- it's not until the halfway mark that one explanation for the situation is spelled out, and whil
Brian Clegg
I have just re-read this for about the fifth time, and it gets better with every reading. Arguably Wolfe's finest novel, this is almost a primer in how 'real world' fantasy ought to be written.

The one proviso is that if you are the sort of person that needs to know what is happening all the way through, you will be very frustrated, as to begin with the reader is in as much a state of mystery as the main character. I love the way Wolfe plays with us, making it not quite clear whether the fantasy
Kate Sherrod
Well, if anyone was going to pull off a third person unreliable narrator right, it was going to have to be Gene Wolfe, and yes, he did it, brilliantly. Which is to say that my brain hurts kind of a lot right now from being turned inside out, marked with chalk, tried on by a crazy man to see if it will fit, altered by a seamstress and worn in a blizzard by... well, is it the same crazy man? Most likely. But then, is it the same crazy man in the same crazy world?

There Are Doors' protagonist, occas
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2013 Skjam! rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gene Wolfe fans
Mr. Green has hooked up with Lara, a woman he knows almost nothing about. After a week, she disappears, leaving only a note explaining that “there are doors” and that he must not go through them. Mr. Green promptly manages to stumble through such a door and finds himself in what appears to be an alternate Earth. An Earth where Lara is a goddess, and men die if they have sex.

Mr. Green is an unreliable viewpoint character–even if he isn’t delusional or suffering from hallucinations, there’s plenty
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in April 2002.

Most of Wolfe's novels have a setting which seems to be fantasy rather than traditional science fiction; There Are Doors, a homage to Philip K. Dick, is an exception. When his lover Lara disappears, Mr Green (the central character is never given a first name) sets out to find her, but is soon caught up in a series of parallel universes accessed through "doors". His adventures include incarceration in a mental hospital and being on the run from t
Ah, the pleasures of a Gene Wolfe novel. To be sure, not to everyone's taste; oftentimes odd, coming from far left field. Never a relaxing read, Wolfe's books are always a detective story completely separate from the plot itself, thanks to that most frustrating and rewarding of literary devices, the unreliable narrator.

Told from the protagonist's perspective (not in first person), "There Are Doors" is essentially a love story: a man wakes and finds the woman he has fallen in love with gone, with
Michael Battaglia
Something that maybe we can all agree on is that Gene Wolfe is smarter than we are. I'm not saying he's the smartest man alive or about to give Stephen Hawking a run for his money but based on printed evidence alone a fairy good case can be made that when it comes to this thing called "literature", he can think rings around all of us. Just about all of his books mask hideous complexities that can only be hinted at when you're reading it purely for the sounds of the words. Like a dark shape passi ...more
THERE ARE DOORS was the first of Gene Wolfe's late-1980's fantastical fiction works, the others being CASTLEVIEW and PANDORA. After his acclaimed four-volume work The Book of the New Sun and its coda, THE URTH OF THE NEW SUN, and two fantasy novels set in ancient Greece (the "Soldier" series), these fantastical fiction works were a very different offering from an author known for his science fiction.

THERE ARE DOORS is the story of an appliance salesman who has a week-long relationship with, so w
This is one of those Gene Wolfe "middle books" that he wrote between the "New Sun" and "Long Sun" series in the 1980s. And, like several of his other stand-alone novels, it has some brilliant ideas and moments, sprinkled with some choppy ones. Wolfe sticks to his minimalist approach in telling the tale of a man who finds himself jumping between our dimension and an slightly alternate Earth, pursuing a goddess who flits in and out of his life (a theme he explored more completely with his Wizard-K ...more
I have to say, this book didn't really appeal to me. The concept, that you can get yourself lost between worlds by going through the wrong doors, is appealing. And so is the constant questioning of the narrator's sanity. Even the book's central conceit, the exploration of a desperate, searching love, could have been fairly compelling. Instead, it felt to me like it was a bit of smoke-and-mirrors--it all seemed very mysterious, but what was going on was actually fairly simple. Not to mention that ...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
THERE ARE DOORS is the story of an appliance salesman who has a week-long relationship with, supposedly a goddess from another dimension. She leaves him for her home, and warns him not to go through any doors. However, he follows her, traveling through doors hoping to find her. For some reason he seems to keep finding himself in a mental institution. Then, unexpectedly he lands in her dimension where there are major differences from our Earth: there after mating male humans die, like bee drones, ...more
What a hallucination this was! At first romantic, then merely sad (I generally disapprove of chasing people who don't wish to be chased). It just beings to come 'round to a whelming sort of wistfulness at the end, at which point he seems to have got tired of writing. Disappointing. Pity there's no sequel (yet); it might make a passable lead-in to one.

Could do with re-reading to disentangle the multiple names of each character. Perhaps most annoyingly, it took a while to figure out that any ambig
I liked it ... but I wasn't absorbed by it. As Wolfe goes it's pretty disappointing. We lost the creation of a completely foreign world that felt somehow familiar and 'forgotten' and ended up with an extremely familiar world that just seemed different in a very mundane sense.

I may have expected too much, after the Sun books (long, short and new) it's hard not to expect absolute escape from his books and brilliance to boot. I don't feel like this book delivered either, but if it had been any othe
A very strange book and I am still wondering how everything fits together. The dark mood, the way how the main character gets manipulated and finally the distorted reality reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick. Unlike other books from Wolfe, enough clues are given to understand at least the surface level story, however, at the end I wasn't satisfied. The whole story is too crazy and doesn't offer much in return for the time spent with it.

Judge for yourself.
Strange book--I tried to finish it, but finally just gave up because I didn't care what happened anymore! I am not sure if the protagonist is really traveling through doors to other dimensions looking for his love who is from another world (a goddess we are told and someone with whom he had known all of a week!) or if he is actually just a mental patient with severe hallucinations...but as I said, I got to where I didn't care and just turned off the audio player and went to bed!
Cin Farfán
There's a certain kind of lonely man who rejects love, because he believes that anyone who offers it wouldn't be a lover worth having ... Just one of the awesome quotes in this novel. Gene Wolfe is a treasure
hyper-reality in alternate universes makes for a book with a disorientating reader positioning - think difficult but inquisitive camera angle and different planes of existence.
i felt quite voyeuristic within the text, perhaps a symptom of its lack of responsivity and intense writing style. this is no bad thing however, as it made for a really interesting, if not slightly unsettingly experience.
Chris Hawks
Weeeiird. But good. Thankfully it's a short book, because I had close to no idea what was going on until halfway through. But after that, I couldn't put it down. Gene Wolfe has a singular talent for making you go "Wait. What?" and start flipping pages back to find that one phrase or passage that you can't quite remember but suddenly realize was incredibly significant.
I'm not entirely sure what I think about this book. It's imminently readable, at least when compared to some of Wolfe's closest contempories (specifically Delaney...) but in the end it was unsatisfactory. However that may be just because I'm not entirely sure I EVER like this type of fantasy.
Alexis Ferguson
It is difficult to describe this book, because it is so unlike anything else. It is strange and at times disturbing, but excellent. Reminiscent of Ursula K. Leguin or Haruki Murakami, at least to me. I think this book is interesting, and I enjoyed it, but I don't think it's for everyone.
R.R. Wolfgang
Interesting pacing and voice. Even the simple things were poetic - from reading a book, to dusting, to stepping through a door into a different (but similar) world, I was enthralled. I can't wait to read more of Gene Wolfe's work.
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Gene Wolfe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith, to which he converted after marrying a Catholic. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist, and has won many awards in the field.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fict
More about Gene Wolfe...
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2) Sword & Citadel (The Book of the New Sun, #3-4) The Claw of the Conciliator (The Book of the New Sun #2) The Sword of the Lictor (The Book of the New Sun #3)

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“There's a certain kind of lonely man who rejects love, because he believes that anyone who offers it wouldn't be a lover worth having.” 11 likes
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